Crew profiles – Paul

Our professional and specialist crew is an important part of what makes MOAS the field-leading organization it has become. We are proud of our team on the front lines and we are constantly getting questions about the kind of people we have on board and the various positions they fill. This new weekly profile will introduce you to members of our team and give you an insight into their background and role on board.

We consider entering the water as the last resort. There are many other techniques we can use to assist anyone who is overboard and struggling.

This week we have look through the window into the life of our volunteer Rescue Swimmer Paul.

„My name is Paul and I am one of two Rescue Swimmers on the MOAS SAR (search and rescue) team aboard the Responder.

My role involves leaving the ship on the Fast Rescue Daughter Craft (FRDC), which are the smaller orange rescue launches you see stored above the deck of the Responder, whenever they approach a migrant vessel in distress. I help with the rescues from this position, entering the water to assist people when necessary.

We consider entering the water as the last resort. There are many other techniques we can use to assist anyone struggling in the water – we can throw ropes, floats, reach out and try and pull people aboard – but if people are unconscious in the water and are unable to help themselves, then that’s the time we consider entering the water.

My background in the UK is primarily in flood rescue. This is very different, as during flood and water rescue in the UK you are quite often dealing with 1 or 2 casualties. With MOAS, in the incidents we are dealing with here, everything is a mass casualty event. We’re dealing with anything from 20 to 150 people at a time, in varying states of health, in varying states of panic, and speaking a multitude of different languages.

See Paul at work in the video below:


The first time I volunteered for MOAS we worked in the Aegean on the Turkey-Greece crossing. I think in terms of memorable rescues, it was probably that first trip out with MOAS that made the biggest impression. It was the very first rescue, and there was the anticipation of not knowing what you were going to be faced with, and trying to deal with that. You never know what to expect in this environment and you have to draw on all your experience and skills to be able to deal with whatever comes your way.

That initial trip in the Aegean was also the first time I was seeing the migration issue first hand and it stuck with me. Since then I’ve been out with MOAS several times in different regions and seen so much. I’m almost finished this rotation but I would definitely come back.

If you have a question for Paul, or the rest of our team, simply #AskMOAS on social media. For all the MOAS news and updates sign up to our newsletter at the bottom of this page. Finally, support our rescue missions by giving whatever you can to help us save lives at sea.