Sunderland student follows in his life-saver dad’s footsteps

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MARINE student Luke McGill will never find himself all at sea, if he follows in the footsteps of his highly-trained dad.

The 19-year-old, from Fulwell, Sunderland, hopes to emulate his master mariner father Gerry with a life on the ocean waves – and is studying for a nautical science degree at South Tyneside College to help him get there.

He has already stepped into Gerry’s shoes by becoming an RNLI volunteer.

Luke, who last year completed his A-levels at St Aidan’s RC School, Sunderland, is being sponsored on his three to four- year college course by a shipping company.

He said: “I love my college course, and I also thoroughly enjoy the time I give to the RNLI.

“It’s very important to me to gain as much experience as possible about, on and around the sea, and helping the organisation with its vital work enables me to do that.”

Gerry, 52, gained an HND in nautical science at the college in the late 1970s, and has since pursued a successful seagoing career.

In 2011, he returned to obtain his Masters Certificate, and is captain of a vessel in the North Sea oil industry.

He now acts as deputy launching authority at the RNLI’s Sunderland station at Marine Activity Centre, North Dock, Roker, which means he is responsible for which rescues to attend.

Gerry said: “Working with the RNLI is such an invaluable thing to do for anyone who likes being on the water and has an aptitude for it. I am very proud to be part of such a great organisation and I’m delighted that Luke feels the same.”

Gerry and Luke are both based with the RNLI at its Sunderland lifeboat station – the country’s oldest operational lifeboat station.