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Dramatic video of Port Isaac RNLI rescuing a man in rough seas

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Image of Tamsin Thomas

Tamsin Thomas
Public Relations Manager at Saltash.

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Lifeboats News Release

  • Date:
  • Author: Tamsin Thomas

Dramatic video of a rescue by Port Isaac RNLI lifeboat is now available.

It shows the Port Isaac lifeboat volunteers racing through rough seas to find an angler who had fallen off rocks near Tintagel Head. The video was shot by Matt Main using an RNLI helmet camera and finishes abruptly because it was damaged during the recovery of the man into the D class inshore lifeboat.

The fisherman, who was washed off rocks near Tintagel Head, was rescued on Monday 31 December by the volunteer crew of the Port Isaac RNLI inshore lifeboat.  It’s believed the man had been in the water for up to an hour before he was found.  With the helicopter continuing to search for other possible casualties, the lifeboat crew decided to head for the nearest harbour – Boscastle – where the fisherman was met by paramedics and then transported on to hospital by land ambulance.

It was late afternoon when the three RNLI volunteers launched onboard the D class inshore lifeboat Copeland Bell following reports that a fisherman had been washed off rocks and in to the sea. In a big sea and a large swell Andy Cameron (Helm), Nicky Bradbury and Matt Main managed to find the man and get him into the lifeboat. At this point it was getting dark.

Entering the harbour in challenging conditions and fading light took all the skill and training of volunteer Helmsman Andy Cameron.

Christopher Key, Boscastle Harbour Master, oversaw the arrival of the lifeboat. In a letter to Bob Bulgin, Chairman of the Port Isaac RNLI lifeboat station, he wrote:

‘The weather conditions between Tintagel at Boscastle were appalling with high winds and a heavy ground sea running at about eight to ten feet swell size and large sets of waves I would estimate as much as fourteen feet, which were breaking across the harbour mouth. With the tide flooding the ground sea was particularly aggressive.’ 

‘I have no doubt that the decision to enter Boscastle Harbour with the light fading and nearly gone was extremely difficult and in my opinion the courage and ability demonstrated by the crew, not only in the initial rescue but also in safely navigating the entrance to Boscastle Harbour through heavy surf with rocks littered all around, was of the highest calibre.  I know that the crew selflessly put their own lives at very great risk last night. On behalf of my (Boscastle Harbour) association we appreciate their outstanding conduct.’

The lifeboat sustained some damage during the rescue and with conditions building it was decided to leave it in Boscastle overnight. The lifeboat was repaired and back on service the following day.

Phil Tidy is the RNLI volunteer Lifeboat Operations Manager at Port Isaac:

‘The crew did extremely well to find and rescue the man and that’s the best news for all of us. This rescue, happening late in the afternoon on New Year’s Eve, highlights the extraordinary commitment of the RNLI’s volunteer crew who are willing to drop everything to help save a life at sea. To know we helped someone in trouble was a good way to see in the New Year.’

Helmsman Andy Cameron said: ‘We don’t know the name of the gentleman we helped, but he is in our thoughts and we hope he is making a swift and full recovery.’

Notes to editors

Please note, the download button on the video does not work - please contact the RNLI Press Office on 01202 336789 to get a copy of the video file.

Following a rescue of a similar nature back in April 2012 Matt Main and Nicky Bradbury were awarded the RNLI Bronze medal for Gallantry. They’ll receive the medals at the charity’s Annual Presentation of Awards in May 2013.  The RNLI Silver Medal for Gallantry was awarded to Damien Bolton who was the Helm on that occasion.

Media contacts

For more information please contact either Tamsin Thomas, RNLI Public Relations Manager for the south west, on 07786 668847 or email Tamsin_Thomas@rnli.org.uk or Isla Reynolds, Newsdesk adn PR Manager, on 01202 663127.  Alternatively contact the RNLI Press Office on 01202 336789.

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Key facts about the RNLI

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is the charity that saves lives at sea. Our volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland from 237 lifeboat stations, including four along the River Thames and inland lifeboat stations at Loch Ness, Lough Derg, Enniskillen and Lough Ree. Additionally the RNLI has more than 1,000 lifeguards on over 180 beaches around the UK and operates a specialist flood rescue team, which can respond anywhere across the UK and Ireland when inland flooding puts lives at risk.

The RNLI relies on public donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. As a charity it is separate from, but works alongside, government-controlled and funded coastguard services. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824 our lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved at least 140,000 lives. Volunteers make up 95% of the charity, including 4,600 volunteer lifeboat crew members and 3,000 volunteer shore crew. Additionally, tens of thousands of other dedicated volunteers raise funds and awareness, give safety advice, and help in our museums, shops and offices.

Learn more about the RNLI

For more information please visit the RNLI website or Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. News releases, videos and photos are available on the News Centre.

Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 or by email.


The RNLI is a charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SC037736). Charity number 20003326 in the Republic of Ireland