New lifeboat operations manager for Swanage

Swanage Lifeboat Station has announced the appointment of its new lifeboat operations manager, Rob Pullman, following the retirement of Neil Hardy after 30 years of service.

The voluntary role of Swanage lifeboat operations manager carries a large amount of responsibility, overseeing all the operational aspects of the station, as well as acting as a launch authority, which involves taking the initial call from HM Coastguard and requesting the launch of one, or both, of the lifeboats.


Rob Pullman, who lives in Swanage, served in the British Army for over 33 years, retiring as a colonel. During this time, he spent nine years as a British Army diver and supervisor, as well as time managing a team of 200 volunteer soldiers through training and operational deployment.

Swanage Lifeboat
J M Alcock

A good knowledge of the Swanage coastline

He’s spent plenty of time on the water, kayaking and yacht sailing and he used to own a RIB, so he has a good knowledge of the Swanage coastline.

In welcoming Rob to the team, Swanage Lifeboat station said that as part of his introduction, he was handed a pager so that he could attend the station for callouts, to get an insight to the operational side of the RNLI.

A Swanage Lifeboat Station spokesperson said:

“Rob has joined at the station’s busiest time of the year, with the summer of 2020 seeing the volunteer lifeboat crew attend a variety of different callouts, including an exceptional number of serious medical incidents. We have already launched to 53 shouts this year, with July and August being particularly busy.”

Swanage Lifeboat crew standing outside the Lifeboat house

“Give something back to the community”

Rob Pullman said:

‘I have always wanted to give something back to the community. Taking on the role seemed like an ideal fit, giving me the opportunity to apply some of my skills to a new area. I’ve really enjoyed my involvement so far and look forward to working with all the other volunteers at Swanage.’

Swanage Lifeboat Neil Hardy
Swanage Lifeboat Station

Neil Hardy’s involvement with the RNLI started back in 1987

In August 2020, Captain Neil Hardy retired from his role at Swanage Lifeboat Station, a position he has held for over 30 years. His involvement with the RNLI started back in 1987 as a member of the Swanage RNLI branch committee. In 1990, he took on a temporary position as the lifeboat operations manager, which later became permanent.

A Swanage Lifeboat spokesperson said:

“Not only has Neil seen crew come and go over the years, he has also overseen the arrival of new lifeboats, a brand new lifeboat station and the saving of over 200 lives at sea.

“Over the years, Neil has watched the volunteers launch to many challenging rescues including the rescue to the yacht ‘Be Happy’, which saw coxswain at the time, Chris Haw, honoured with a bronze medal for bravery and the crew on that night received commendations.

“We wish Neil, calm seas and fair winds for his next chapter.”

“Receiving the MBE from the Queen at Windsor Castle”

Reflecting on his retirement, Neil Hardy said:

“One of my proudest moments with the RNLI was receiving the MBE from the Queen at Windsor Castle, but it’s really for all the volunteer members of the crew.

“It’s a very large commitment from a small number of people in Swanage, who have their own businesses and livings to make. I’m extremely grateful that lots of people in the community give a lot to the RNLI so that we can go out and save life at sea.”

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