PENARTH RNLI's newest helmsman has embarked on his maiden callout in control of the charity's Atlantic class lifeboat.

Ben Evans, 30, who has recently been signed off as a helm on both of the Penarth RNLI's lifeboats, was given his first chance to command the larger of the two vessels on a callout to a broken down boat near Cardiff Bay on Wednesday, March 21.

What appeared at first glance to be a simple service call turned into a major challenge however, as it became apparent that the casualty vessel’s anchor rope had wrapped around its propeller shaft, with the chain and anchor lying on the seabed.

But the vessel was successfully freed, and its two crew safely returned to shore.

Mr Evans said: "It was great to be at the helm, and the incident gave me a great opportunity to use the training and knowledge that I have gained through training.

"We had to think outside of the box to free the vessel, which we managed to do, whilst moving the vessel into safer waters."

Originally from Pembrokeshire, Mr Evans moved to Penarth 10 years ago and joined the RNLI in 2012 as a way of playing an active part in the community.

He added: "The RNLI invests heavily in our training, and ensure that we are thoroughly assessed throughout.

"By the time we reach pass out assessments, we have carried out a range of scenario based exercises that make sure we can take responsibility for both the crew, who are all volunteers, and the lifeboat."

Speaking about taking on his new responsibility as a helmsman, Mr Evans said: "I wanted further challenges after becoming a crew member – a chance to take command, to improve my boat handling skills, and at the same time improve my wider skill-set.

When not volunteering at the lifeboat station, Mr Evans is a director at Huw Evans Picture Agency where he is an official photographer of the Welsh Rugby Union.

"My colleagues at Huw Evans Agency have been great in allowing me time off to train and attend shouts," he said.

"If there are any negatives with being on the lifeboat it’s going to work the morning after an all-night shout, but being tired is a small price to pay when I know I am helping to save lives at sea."