Selsey Coxswain Retires After 38 Years with the RNLI

21st April 2021

Max Gilligan Max Gilligan hangs up his yellow wellies and steps down today, 21st April 2021, from the volunteer crew after 38 years service.

Max was first involved in Selsey Lifeboat as a young 10-year-old boy when the 46-foot Watson class Lifeboat 'Canadian Pacific' was on station and was often found racing down to the station to watch and help out when the maroons were fired, helping to open up the boathouse doors, helping with the recovery of the anchors used for rehousing and maintaining the brass fixtures and fittings on the boat - as he says "It was his thing."

Max would accompany the boat crew out on the 'Canadian Pacific' to the then manned Owers Light vessel at Christmas to deliver their Christmas turkey.

He joined the crew in 1983 aged 27 and quickly became a valued member of the crew.

Max has been involved in numerous rescues over the years including some of the most notable amongst the crew in the last 20 years:


Max Gilligan Max Gilligan
Max Gilligan Max Gilligan
Max Gilligan Max Gilligan

Max is and was always a steadfast, reliable crew mate, who was always at the forefront of the crew, and one of the first to volunteer or be chosen for all tasks, and for that reason he will be missed by the rest of the crew.

In his years on the crew he has built up an impressive collection and history of the station including an uninterrupted record of all shouts and services since he joined in 1983.

Max was instrumental in ensuring that the volunteer crew had a means of recording what they did by making sure that a camera was placed on the boat for recording purposes and, since the advent of digital cameras and the trusty helmet camera, he has become even more vocal in ensuring that the crew take the cameras to show what we do as an organisation.

Max has always been the unofficial station photographer and there are not many times when you have seen him without having a camera handy.

Over the years he has built up a great working relationship with both local and national media outlets, helping to raise the profile of the RNLI and Selsey Lifeboat in particular.

He has also forged good ties with other emergency service organisations such as the SAR flight at Lee-on-Solent and military units that we have worked with.

In 2014 Max took on the Lifeboat Press Officer role alongside his crew role, something he has excelled at and, we are happy to say, will continue with.

He has received the Freedom of the City of London after 20 years' service and close association with Guild of Freeman, and has just been awarded "Excellence in Volunteering" by the RNLI Executive Branch for his assistance in the latest series of "Saving Lives at Sea" shown on the BBC.

Tony Delahunty, Lifeboat Operations Manager, Selsey, has this to say about Max: "On behalf of myself, the crew and the RNLI, I would like to thank Max for his 38 years at sea as part of the Selsey RNLI Lifeboat crew. I would also like to acknowledge the level of commitment and dedication required to serve for this length of time. His presence at sea will be missed. I am delighted that Max will continue as Press Officer; his reports and media work both locally and nationally have raised the profile of the station."