Maritime Volunteer Service


We change lives!

Through training and serving local communities

That is the Motto by which the MVS operates, but how is this adhered to?

First of all, the MVS has an obligation to train and educate members. A typical unit will achieve this by planning weekly evening training sessions, which are a mix of classroom theory and practice on unit boats. During this time members will not only be taken through MVS internal courses, but also get the chance to complete RYA courses, both shorebased and practical, and so be able to gain the knowledge and experience to handle various types of vessel.

Usually an MVS unit will also work alongside local authorities, harbour masters, councils and other organisations on a permanent basis. This can range from checking that onshore safety features are serviced, to carrying out regular patrols in certain areas to one off events like assisting emergency services in major planned and unplanned events and situations. During these deployments, members get the chance to put their training into practice and provide a professional and qualified service as and when required.

Furthermore, the MVS strives to educate and inform members of the public on safety when out on the water. This can be done with public talks, leaflets or just chatting to boaters when out on the water.

Changing lives can be a simple matter of providing distraction when required, or offering the chance to walk down a different path in life. Either way, the MVS accepts members from all backgrounds. So long as a volunteer is above the age of 18 and fit to carry out any duties they volunteer for, they are more than welcome to join. As a member they will be part of a fantastic organisation with the chance to learn and thrive in the marine environment.

As part of the role, the MVS works closely with local councils and other volunteer organisations. There are many examples of this working successfully: The unit in Dundee has agreed to regularly check and service waterside safety features, such as recovery ladders and lifebelts and report any damage or lack of equipment that cannot be resolved by themselves. This is done in cooperation with the Glasgow Humane Society and the local council and has worked out extremely well, ensuring there are fewer instances where safety devices are missing or damaged for extended periods of time.

In Poole, the MVS works very closely with the Harbour Master, conducting weekend and bank holiday harbour patrols during which they enforce local byelaws, sell permits and act as a deterrent on the water.  As part of this role a bridge patrol is provided in form of a RIB which marshals boats passing through Poole Town Quay and the bridges which greatly reduces the risk of collisions in this narrow passage.

Other responsibilities the MVS regularly cover include providing safety boats at the Bournemouth Air Festival, where they are tasked to keep leisure boats out of the exclusion zone as well as provide assistance when laying the buoys which act as markers for the pilots as well as many other large scale events through out the country.

The Southampton Unit

Founding a new unit in Southampton and the surrounding area opens up many opportunities for both the MVS and local authorities to work together and offer support to each other.

Being on the doorstep to one of the busiest waterways in the world, it provides excellent grounds for training, but also a great place to start spreading the word about safety on and around the water as well as offering hands on experience to those who wish to join us.