Portsmouth Unit Celebrates 30 years of Volunteering

Thirty years of volunteering afloat around the coastline of Britain was celebrated in Portsmouth by a national nautical charity recently.

When members of the Royal Naval Auxiliary (RNXS) were told by government in 1994 that they were no longer needed, the members decided to carry on anyway and start their own charity to continue their work. Now 30 years later the Maritime Volunteer Service (MVS) held a national day right around the UK to celebrate their achievements in training the next generation of seafarers and providing vital support to communities on the coast.

The MVS is a well-respected charity with a focus on nautical training and community service. It has 26 units around the UK coastline and inland waterways, operating a fleet of small vessels which are used to train members in seamanship, engineering, and communications.

Training is at the very heart of the service – both afloat and ashore. The MVS trains its members (many of whom have had no previous connection with the sea) in nautical skills, following its own training pathway leading to RYA qualifications. These skills are then put into practice to serve the local and in some cases, the national community. In recent years, MVS units have assisted in organised events such as the Tall Ships Race, International Festival of the Sea, the Clipper Race and the 2012 Olympics.

To celebrate the 30th anniversary, the City of Portsmouth Unit of the MVS took part in the Gosport Marine Festival with their vessel Arkwright.

Head of Unit Paul Marlow said: “Arkwright was moored in Gosport Marina from where members displayed the vessel, welcomed visitors and handed out flyers to provide information about our operations and facilities. There was an encouraging level of interest from potential and most welcome new recruits, and we were honoured with a visit by Rear Admiral Cox.”

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