1. ITV Report

Call for volunteer lifesavers

Portsmouth's lifeboat crew set out Photo: ITV Meridian

That's the message from the RNLI in Portsmouth where the number of daytime crew is at an all time low. A recruitment day is being held on Saturday in an attempt to attract men and women prepared to give up their time to save others.

There are 15 RNLI lifeboat stations in our region - manned by 312 volunteers. Last year they rescued more than 1,200 people.

But the number of people willing and able to join lifesaving missions during the day has never been lower.

Jacqui Hutchins, from the RNLI, said: "If we can't launch it could be a life lost at sea and that would be the worst thing that could happen. With the recession at the moment people aren't able to get away from work, obviously small businesses are closing, to be honest there's not an awful lot of business around here. We can't get people to come along in the day time."

The minimum crew needed to man this lifeboat is three. When Meridian visited the Portsmouth base, the boat had to cross Langstone Harbour to Hayling Island to pick up the third crew member.

"Bringing someone back in that you've rescued and them saying thank you that's enough payment."

– Simon Matthews, lifeboat volunteer

Volunteers are not paid for their time, but they say the job itself is worth it. Simon Matthews works as a sailmaker, he said: "Bringing someone back in that you've rescued and them saying thank you that's enough payment."

Pete Slidel, another crew member, said: "It's a fantastic buzz and it's a massive achievement. It's joy you just feel great relief that you've saved somebody."

A recruitment day is being held at the lifeboat station in Ferry Road from 10am this Saturday. Those in peril on the sea depend on volunteers coming forward.