GETTYThe RNLI criticised the crewmen's behaviour
Veteran Whitby crewman Ben Law and trainee Joe Winspear, who were unpaid volunteers, had swapped various “jokey” designs as Secret Santa gifts, with one featuring the latter’s head superimposed on a naked woman’s body.
When a senior female member of staff found the mugs in a cupboard while visiting their headquarters in North Yorkshire, the pair were told to destroy them and that the matter wouldn’t go any further.
But in March they were informed the mugs were a “safeguarding breach” because they might be seen by visiting schoolchildren.
The pair faced a disciplinary hearing that trawled through their private WhatsApp messages.
They were eventually sacked by phone on Tuesday, with four of their colleagues - navigator Steve Boocock, helmsman Martyn Cairns and trainees Neil Cook and Simon Rhodes - quitting the RNLI in protest.
In a statement, the RNLI confirmed the two vounteers have been stood down and have the right to appeal, but