TODAY, Monday, March 4, marks the RNLI's 200th anniversary - and to mark the occasion we spent the morning with the charity's Barry team to find out just what it takes to be a volunteer.

When we visited the headquarters of Barry Dock RNLI, we arrived to find three volunteers waiting and ready for an all-important call-out.

Mechanic Ben Phillips, 29, is the latest in a long line of his family to volunteer for the charity. His great-grandfather and great-uncle volunteered, and today he, alongside his mum, dad, and sister all follow in their footsteps.

Barry And District News: Ben Phillips is the sixth generation of his family to join RNLIBen Phillips is the sixth generation of his family to join RNLI (Image: newsquest)Mr Phillips spoke to us about why he became a volunteer before showing us around the station and equipment to find out what a day in the life of a volunteer looks like.

He said: “I grew up with the station, I have been coming down here since I was a kid, and I always had an interest in it and then you end up wanting to carry on and do something for something else.

“It's hard sometimes, when you are about to sit down and eat a Chinese you have one mouthful before being called out to an emergency.

“It’s always nice for me to get emails saying that they’ve confirmed the shout and that a life was saved, and it makes you feel good and that’s why I do it.”

Barry And District News: We had an exclusive tour of inside the RNLI's all-weather lifeboatWe had an exclusive tour of inside the RNLI's all-weather lifeboat (Image: newsquest)Mr Phillips showed us a practice drill of how to put on the suit in an emergency, which we joined in before getting an tour of a weather lifeboat.

There are seven pieces of kit that volunteers wear, they wear a base layer next to the skin, a middle layer, and a top layer along with life jackets along with breathable fabrics.

Barry And District News: RNLI kit volunteers use for rescue call outsRNLI kit volunteers use for rescue call outs (Image: newsquest)Upon trying on each layer, you can feel the weight of the equipment increase, imagine that and the weight of a person in a rescue, it's incredible how they manage to wear the heavy suits and carry out a rescue.

The lifeboat station at Barry Dock had 100 shouts in 2022, last year it had 80 and so far, this year it has only had five.

On the charity's 200th anniversary, Mr Phillips said: “It’s big for us, it shows the dedication for 200 years that people have been doing the same thing.

Barry And District News: Behind the scenes with the RNLI. Behind the scenes with the RNLI. (Image: newsquest)"It started with wooden lifeboats with no lifejackets and then they moved on to bits of cork on canvas.

“They are still doing the same job, we have been doing that for 200 years and hopefully keep doing it for another 200 years.”