A lifeboat volunteer is celebrating over 40 years of saving lives at sea – even rescuing a kayaker on the anniversary of his achievement.

Simon Tugwell, 57, joined the RNLI when he was 17 and has saved countless people including those in stricken yachts and during floods.

Shoreham lifeboat's second coxswain, nicknamed “Tuggy”, marked his achievement with another life saved as he went to the rescue of a kayaker who had been blown three miles offshore.

The Argus: Simon Tugwell putting out a boat fire at seaSimon Tugwell putting out a boat fire at sea (Image: RNLI)

Simon, from Shoreham, said: The lifeboat is a huge part of my life and I can’t believe I have been involved for 40 years. It is an honour and privilege and I couldn’t have done any of it without the support of the lifeboat coxswains, crews, station volunteers and my family.

“I love being able to help someone in trouble and being part of a team.”

Simon comes from a line of RNLI volunteers in Shoreham. His father, Geoff, was a crew member for 41 years.


On Tuesday last week Simon helped save the kayaker who had been out at sea off Hove alone for over six hours.

The Argus: Simon TugwellSimon Tugwell (Image: RNLI)

During his 40 years of service, Simon has been part of rescues including the Trimley Maid yacht which became stuck in gale force nine winds off the coast in 1999.

He was also commended for his works is saving the Crazy H boat which collided with a trawler in shipping lanes 23 miles from Shoreham.

As well as his work out at sea, Simon also helped save people from their homes during floods in Lewes and Uckfield in 2000. He also had to be airlifted to safety after trying to stop an 100m-long barge straying into shipping lanes.

The Argus: Simon TugwellSimon Tugwell (Image: RNLI)

He has also volunteered through the demolition of the former Shoreham lifeboat station as well as the opening of the current site.

Simon was presented with a 40-year service medal by the RNLI as well as 40-year bar at the Sussex Yacht Club in Shoreham.