The sole qualification for SARA membership is a genuine desire to help and assist with our aims. However, operational members must be at least 18, and able to walk 5 miles in two hours – you do not need to be super-fit! Boat crew also need to able to swim.
SARA operational crew are usually trained initially as either lifeboat crew or land search team members. Most stations offer one or the other; at Beachley one can train as either. This initial training usually lasts around 6 months, and coincides with a period of ‘probation’ for full membership of the organisation.
Following qualification as operational crew, members should continue to train in that discipline on an ongoing basis. They may also then extend their training to other disciplines which the Station provides, such as rope rescue, or towards levels of leadership such as Team Leader or Boat Helmsman. SARA trains to nationally recognized standards, and where relevant the training includes achieving formal external qualifications.
Some trainee crew join with relevant skills or knowledge, for example from rock climbing or sailing, but others learn all the skills at SARA. Trainees may not always be confident tying knots or using the radio, but with suitable training and one-to-one coaching, team members are soon confident.