You power our lifesaving: August rescue roundup
It’s been a busy August all around our coasts, and RNLI lifesavers have been there when needed – thanks to you.
Cancelled foreign holidays combined with scorching hot weather to draw people to the coast. Here’s a very quick roundup of just some of the rescues you’ve made possible in this strange and hectic month.
Thanet, 2 August
RNLI lifeguards on Ramsgate Main Beach rescued 24 people in a single day. Those rescued were mainly in danger of being swept out to sea by rip currents, and included children, adults and the elderly. In one incident Lifeguard Neil Morgan swam with his rescue tube to save two children who were caught in a rip and being pulled quickly towards the harbour entrance.
On the same day, on nearby Botany Bay, lifeguards gave CPR to a 6-year-old girl who had lost consciousness and stopped breathing after a seizure, and rescued a man in his 50s who was out of his depth and being battered by waves against a cliff. Both have recovered.
Lifeguard Supervisor Ellie Hopper says: ‘Much of our work on the beaches is offering safety advice to the public, particularly about tide times and rip currents, but as these incidents show when something goes wrong our lifeguards use their knowledge and expertise to go straight into action’.
Abersoch, 8 August
The lifeboat crew were paged on Saturday afternoon with worrying reports of a teenage paddleboarder being swept out to sea. The boy was wearing a buoyancy aid and had his mobile phone in a waterproof pouch, but made one mistake: leaving his board and trying to swim to shore. The sea was too strong, and he was now more difficult to spot.
The boy was in the water, talking to police on his phone. The Coastguard launched a helicopter and sent shore teams to scan the water. One team on Aberdaron Headland spotted the boy after about 20 minutes and directed the lifeboat towards him. Having swallowed a lot of water, and showing signs of hypothermia, he was airlifted from the lifeboat to the helicopter and taken straight to hospital, where he made a full recovery.
Helm Fritz Williams says: ‘This call out shows just how crucial a lifejacket is, and having a means of calling for help. A lifejacket can buy you valuable time while you wait for help to arrive. Staying with your vessel or flotation device can help you to keep warm out of the water and also make you easier to find.’
Portishead, 8 August
Portishead RNLI were paged by HM Coastguard following reports of a person on a small RIB just off Denny Island, Portishead, with a suspected broken leg.
Portishead’s Atlantic 85 lifeboat launched along with a Coastguard helicopter. The lifeboat crew arrived on scene and put a crew member on to the vessel to assess the injured man and offer casualty care. The RNLI shore crew worked quickly to move the members of the public so that the helicopter could land as close to the lifeboat slipway as possible.
Ian Lazenby, RNLI Head Launcher, says: ‘It is not something we have seen before. The Coastguard landed with such precision and skill it was an impressive thing to witness. Our thanks go out to the members of the public who moved very quickly for us to secure a landing site for the helicopter, and for staying at a safe distance, ensuring the safety of our volunteers.’
Cleethorpes, 11 August
Cleethorpes RNLI crew launched following reports of several people trapped on the Whaleback sandbank near Humberston. Arriving at the location, the RNLI crew found 10 young people aged 7–18 and brought them back to Cleethorpes, where they were reunited with their very relieved and grateful parents.
Helm Chris Jordison says: ‘This is by far the most people I’ve ever rescued onto the boat at a single time. The sandbank they were stuck on is very easy to be caught out by and they did the right thing by obeying the instructions of the Coastguard and not attempting to cross the creek.'
Teignmouth, 13 August
RNLI lifeguards at Teignmouth Beach in East Devon saved two boys who were being swept out to sea by strong currents. Senior Lifeguard Tamar Hosking was patrolling the beach when she noticed the boys being pulled into the deep and fast-flowing water of the nearby shipping channel. Tamar responded immediately on her rescue board, and alerted fellow Lifeguard Luke Adey, who came to help on the rescue watercraft and brought the boys safely ashore.
Lead Lifeguard Supervisor Henry Irvine says: ‘Tamar’s quick actions undoubtedly saved these boys’ lives. They are very lucky. This is the second incident in as many days where bathers have entered the water near to the Point and found themselves being carried out to sea by the exceptionally strong current.’
Flint, 13 August
Flint RNLI volunteers were taking part in their first afloat exercise since lockdown, when the shore crew heard calls for help from a speedboat that was suffering engine failure and drifting towards rocks near Connah’s Quay Dock.
With the Coastguard informed, the lifeboat crew arrived on the scene 5 minutes later. On arrival, they found a 19ft speedboat with four people onboard, who confirmed they were all fine but needed help to stop drifting and get to safety. The volunteer crew quickly established a tow and brought them safely to shore.
Baltimore, 15 August
Baltimore RNLI were called out to help the crew of a yacht that had suffered engine failure off Baltimore Harbour. Crew Member Eoin O’Driscoll went aboard the yacht to rig a tow. The lifeboat crew then towed the yacht to a safe mooring off Sherkin Island.
Kate Callanan, Baltimore RNLI Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer, says: ‘The skipper of the yacht did the right thing in requesting assistance as he felt winds were too light to allow him to safely access the harbour [by sail]. If you get into difficulty at sea or on the coast, call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coast Guard.’
Troon, 16 August
Troon RNLI rescued two people from an inflatable dinghy near Ardrossan. Both the all-weather lifeboat crew and the inshore lifeboat crew launched alongside Ardrossan Coastguard Rescue Team. The all-weather lifeboat arrived on scene first and guided the inshore lifeboat to the position of the dinghy.
The people were taken aboard the inshore lifeboat and then transferred to the warmer, more stable all-weather lifeboat for initial casualty care.
Coxswain Joe Millar says: 'These inflatable toys are not suitable for use at the coast. They are easily blown by the wind and can quickly move offshore. Our advice is to leave them at home and not use them at sea.'
Enniskillen, 26 August
Storm Ellen wreaked chaos on Lower Lough Erne. Luckily, Enniskillen lifeboat crew were on call to help. A vessel with six people spending the night onboard had broken free in the force 7-8 (near gale to gale) winds. The lifeboat crew were called from their beds at 3.46am. On arrival, they brought the small vessel to a safer location to pass the rough night. And, in two trips, they brought the four adults and two children ashore. While all this was going on, Belfast Coast Guard got in touch to say that three more boats - these ones unoccupied - had broken free at Lough Erne Yacht Club. Another RNLI crew was sent to deal with that incident.
Helm Stephen Ingram says: ‘We would like to praise the people for raising the alarm in challenging and frightening conditions so we could bring them to safety. We would also commend the work of our volunteers in challenging conditions.’
You’re an essential part of our lifesaving crew. You don’t need to pull on a pair of yellow wellies or step aboard a boat to be one of the RNLI’s rescuers.
Whether you’re sharing summer safety advice with friends and family, giving a kind donation, or selflessly offering your time to power our lifesaving work, you’re making a huge difference. Thank you. From the front-line lifesavers, those they’ve rescued and their families.