Volunteer as a Guide
During the course of a year the boat receives a steady number of visitors by appointment, comprising individuals, family groups or organisations of various types, such as historical societies. The aim of the guides is to give the historical background to the vessel, its function when in service on the Thames and later restoration. The vessel has a permanent Dunkirk memorabilia display on board to tell the story of the vessel’s involvement in Operation Dynamo. In addition, the Trust has a range of photographs illustrating the boats history from its launch, time in service and recent restoration which support the guides’ own knowledge.
The tour incorporates visits to the main features of the vessel, including the engine room, wheelhouse and hose compartment, and explanations are provided about how a fireboat works. Some groups are quite large and so are split into smaller groups to aid movement around the boat. In addition, the Trust works in partnership with an adjoining historical steam tug “Portwey” offering visits to both vessels at the same time by prior arrangement.
Guides need to acquire a general knowledge of the history of the boat, its construction and layout and how it operates but, given the spread of experience and backgrounds of the volunteer crew, at least one member is able to answer any detailed questions. The Trust supports its new guides by providing a “buddy system” so that each person learns at their own pace and is supported by trained guides.