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RNLI boss Michael Vlasto retires
A LEADING light, credited with transforming the RNLI, polished off his last day in the job in Weymouth before retiring.
Operations director Michael Vlasto was given the task of shining brasswork on the town’s lifeboat – a task he first performed as a boy.
He was given the job after sailing into Weymouth on his last day with the RNLI in the latest all-weather lifeboat, a Shannon-class, with an escort of Weymouth inshore lifeboat and a lifeguard Rib.
Michael said: “Working for this wonderful organisation has been a privilege and intensely rewarding.”
He added: “There have been tragic times, and incidents where crew and families are directly affected, stay with you for ever.”
Michael helped transform the charity into a multi-faceted, world-class search and rescue organisation in his 16 years as operations director and 39 years in total with the charity.
As a boy Michael used to help at Weymouth lifeboat by keeping the brasswork shining.
Michael was responsible for the charity’s 237 lifeboat stations, 6,000 crew, and 1,000 lifeguards.
He played a significant role in steering the charity to one which includes lifeguards, hovercraft, flood rescue teams, lifeboats on the River Thames, and lifesaving training abroad.
Michael strove for cutting-edge technology and training for the RNLI and is also chairman of trustees of the International Maritime Rescue Federation, the non-governmental organisation representing the world’s search and rescue services.
He is continuing this work after his retirement from the RNLI.
Michael will be succeeded by George Rawlinson, currently RNLI head of lifesaving operations.
Among other plans, Michael intends to teach his grandchildren to sail in the dinghies his own children learned to sail.
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