All At Sea

Bridlington School’s Y13 student Danielle Coverdale might be considered by many to have her hands full studying for her A Levels in maths, physics and geography. However, as Danielle has proved in her outstanding GCSE results, her club swimming career and her desire to study astrophysics at university, she is no ordinary girl.

Growing up in a seaside town can have certain influences on its young residents and, despite negative press and stereotypes, there are plenty of opportunities for the youth in Bridlington to broaden their horizons. Danielle has taken this to the extreme as she has become the youngest member of the Bridlington RNLI lifeboat Crew, having been recruited to train with the main team based in the state of the art facilities at the lifeboat station on the Spa Promenade.

Danielle states that her father was a massive influence on her as he has been part of the crew at the station for 30 years. ‘I guess you could say I grew up around the station, I’ve been going down there with my dad all my life, it just felt like a natural transition.’ Not one for blowing her own trumpet, Danielle is keen to play down her role. ‘At the moment you could say I’m right at the beginning of the training. I have to learn about the boat, its layout, design and engineering and learn about station operations. There’s a lot of theory involved before you even get to go out on the boat.’ She is keen to promote the Flag Day that the station holds in July where it opens its doors to the public with tours and a chance to meet the crew of the lifeboat.

A keen swimmer, Danielle was part of Bridlington swimming club for a number of years competing for the town in regular competitions as well as for the county in championships in Leeds and Sheffield. This year she took this a step further and trained to be one of the beach Lifeguards on duty at Bridlington’s beaches over its busy summer tourist season. ‘I really enjoyed the job over the summer and working as a lifeguard inspired me to do more, signing up for the RNLI felt like the next natural step.’

Danielle suggests that the family feel she has at Bridlington School studying with her friends is similar to the comradery of the volunteers down at the station. She is the latest in a proud tradition of lifeboat crew in Bridlington that goes all the way back to 1805 when the town was supplied its first lifeboat from Greathead. It now operates with a D class lifeboat that is state of the art as well as brand new Shannon class boat that arrived in November 2017. Characteristically, Danielle is undaunted and looking forward to the day she can get to sea with the rest of the crew.

There is the small matter of some rather challenging A Levels to secure before she becomes too deeply involved in her training. ‘I love school, I’ve been at Bridlington my whole school life. In a way I’m looking forward to finishing but I’ll be really sad to go and I have to make this year my focus so my grades can take me wherever I want to go.’ Asked what her plans are, Danielle says she is keeping her options open. ‘Maybe a university somewhere down south, but perhaps Hull University so I can be close to home and save money.’ We can’t help thinking that the pull on being on the crew of a busy lifeboat station might also influence that decision. For now when the pager goes off Danielle will rush from school to do her bit with the rest of the crew down on the Promenade, ‘I’ll be trying my best not to leave lessons though.’ We're sure, who would want to swap A Levels for the pull of the sea?

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