Coastguard volunteers needed in Scarborough, Filey and Withernsea - and women are urged to apply

Women are being encouraged to become coastguards in a recruitment drive launched on Friday for a dozen posts along the East Coast.

Women make up 20 to 30 per cent of coastguard volunteers Picture: Coastguard Rescue Service

The Coastguard Rescue Service is looking for volunteers to take up on-call roles at towns including Scarborough, Filey and Withernsea.

The job can entail a host of duties from searching for missing people, helping emergency services when there is flooding to carrying out duties for the Receiver of Wreck, such as dealing with washed-up whales.

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Current volunteers have a wide range of ages and come from all kinds of backgrounds – from builders to paramedics and farmers.

An upper age limit does not apply but volunteers need to be "reasonably fit" Picture: Coastguard Rescue Service

About 20 to 30 per cent are now women in what was traditionally a male-dominated service.

Senior coastal operations officer Ryan Fletcher said: “I joined at 16 as a volunteer rescue officer and we have people joining in their 60s.

“It used to be that you would have a man in his 40s joining but we now have volunteers from such a wide background that there is no standard fit.

“Since we were formed in 1824 it has been a predominantly male-dominated arena but in the last 20 to 30 years we have seen a lot of women coming to the service and we really want to encourage that.”

These days the coastguard service has to compete with other bodies looking for volunteers and it can be a challenge finding employers willing to let staff leave work to attend incidents.

People are also preferably living or working within 10 minutes of a coastguard station.

However beyond being 18 or over, an upper age limit does not apply. People need to be reasonably fit and will need to take a medical. There are also eyesight and hearing requirements.

Mr Fletcher said there was a huge reward in doing something for your own community.

“A massive part is doing something for the general public in your own community,” he said.

“You get skills that help you in your day-to-day job, casualty care and communication skills, plus there is being part of the team.

“You go out and do some fantastic work – possibly saving a life at some point and I don’t think there is any bigger reward that.

“There is definite pride in what a team can achieve and how much you can do.”

Since the Government introduced the coronavirus lockdown, coastguards in marked vehicles have been helping police patrol Filey, Scarborough and Whitby at weekends. But this weekend, with bad weather forecast, there are no plans to go out.

People can register their interest by emailing [email protected] Completed forms should be returned by June 5. Four volunteers are needed at Scarborough and two each at Filey, Hull, Withernsea and Hornsea.