Member's Stories

Find out how our members have benefitted from joining MVS Poole.

Our members come from all walks of life, including those who have been on the water for decades. However, as you will read below, many of our members have moved to Poole having never been around boats and decided that they wanted to try their hand at it, finding a great new hobby and friends in the process.

My husband and I moved down from the Midlands just over 5 years ago. We really didn’t know anyone here or anything about Poole for that matter.

A work colleague of his suggested he went along to MVS Poole on a Monday evening. I decided to go along too (even though I was told it was only for blokes…it isn’t and its for any age)… and I’ve never looked back.

I got to know loads of friendly, interesting people and become involved in what’s happening around Poole Harbour and beyond. Whether it’s escorting the Mayor at sea, taking part in Harry Paye Day and the Festival of Lights, laying buoys for the Air Festival or generally patrolling the harbour. I’ve also had a go at driving a ferry boat for man overboard exercise – it’s still in one piece!

It’s not all work though, there’s lots of social activities organised to fill any other spare moment I have. Along the way I’ve gained new qualifications too like RYA Day Skipper, Power Boat II, VHF Radio Operator, First Aider and Sea Survival to name a few.

I definitely feel part of the Poole scene. Thank you MVS for making me welcome.

I was made redundant in 2014 from an American Wholsesale Bank after 24 years working for them in Bournemouth and London, and very soon after that I started volunteering for the RNLI. 

At the end of 2016, I heard about the MVS Unit in Poole and very quickly applied and got accepted as a novice Volunteer for the MVS Poole Unit. Their internal Foundation Course was covered over 8 Wednesday evenings and I then moved on to the Competent Crew courses, taking in various other talks and presentations by the RNLI, Harbour Master, Marine Police etc.

2017 then saw me working hard to gain my RYA qualifications in First Aid, VHF, Radar, Diesel engines and Essential Navigation and Seamanship. During the Competent Crew courses, I was also out on the water, gaining over 200 hours of valuable experience through various training and Patrols. Then finally I passed my Harbour Cox qualification at year end and have been passed out as Coxswain on three of our vessels (so far). I have gone from strength to strength within the MVS and am currently one of our Deputy Heads of Unit, responsible for Vessel Maintenance and Special Projects, whilst continuing to enjoy the water and provide assistance to the Poole Harbour Commissioners with our Patrols.

MVS has changed my life and as a member of any rank, you really can do as much or as little volunteering as you wish to do – we are here for you, so come on down and have a chat with one of our Mentors and start your journey!

My name is Nigel Barrow, I am in my fifties and like most of us I work for a living. About three years ago I was fortunate enough to watch MVS Appleby, our ex-fleet tender come alongside and dock at Poole Quay.

She had the national website address on her bridge and my MVS story starts there. I was a total landlubber, I hail from the land locked county of Wiltshire and the nearest I had been to the sea was a couple of cross channel trips and a rowing boat on the lake at Weymouth. I joined the MVS within a couple of weeks and seemed to take to this boaty thing like a duck to water. In those three years I increased my skill level to a stage where I became an MCA registered small commercial vessel skipper. On the journey I have managed to obtain eight or more RYA certificates including advanced powerboat , radio, first aid, sea survival and radar. I have also managed to buy a third share in my own boat which we bought as a wreck and restored. I have also had a whale of a time.

Although the gaining of new skills and experiences, of which there have been many, are important to me I feel that the friends I have made over the last three years and the interest we jointly share is of far more importance. However, outweighing all of the foregoing by far is the improvement in my general health and wellbeing. Just before I joined the MVS I had been told that my long term diabetic condition had worsened to the extent that I would have to be put on insulin to control it, I also have inherited rheumatoid arthiritis which the hospital was finding difficult to control.

Being in the MVS gave me a new focus in life, helped me to become fitter and more mobile and has allowed me to get both of my conditions under control, the diabetes without the aid of insulin. I have a lot to thank the MVS for and try to give a little back by helping out with some of the admin and organisation, much like many other members I find that what you get out of the organisation is in direct proportion to what you put in.