November rescue roundup: You power our lifesaving

We’re deep into autumn now, and most of us will be staying in during these long, dark, cosy evenings. Not our crew members, though. They’re still busy rescuing people around the UK and Ireland, ready to drop what they’re doing at a moment’s notice. 

It’s your kind support that powers every launch, and your generosity which brings them safely home. Thank you for being our lifesaver.

3 November: Castletownbere

Castletownbere lifeboat crew aid fisherman


Castletownbere RNLI

Late at night, the volunteers of Castletownbere RNLI were requested to go to the assistance of a 27m fishing trawler with an ill crew member onboard, 2 miles south of Mizen Head. 

Under the command of Coxswain Dean Hegarty, the lifeboat was launched within minutes and located the trawler west of Sheep’s Head. The conditions were difficult, with a 3-metre swell and 25 knot south-westerly winds. The crew tried twice to transfer the casualty from the fishing vessel to the lifeboat, but the strong winds and choppy seas made that difficult. 

Instead, the lifeboat escorted the trawler just inside Castletownbere Harbour, where the casualty was transferred to the lifeboat in calmer waters.
Rescue 115, the Shannon-based Irish Coast Guard helicopter, met the lifeboat in Bantry Bay. The helicopter lowered a winchman, and the casualty was successfully transferred to the helicopter and evacuated to Cork University Hospital.

Castletownbere RNLI Lifeboat Deputy Launching Authority, Brendan O’Neill, complimented the crew on its rapid response to the call out, and thanked the Coast Guard for its cooperation.

10 November: Flint, Rhyl, Llandudno and Hoylake

RNLI Hoylake

Hoylake RNLI returning to station

A distress beacon alert prompted a major search for RNLI lifeboats from Flint, Rhyl, Llandudno and Hoylake. They launched late at night and returned to their respective stations the following morning.

Both the inshore and all-weather lifeboats from Rhyl were involved in the search, with the Shannon class all-weather lifeboat Anthony Kenneth Heard launching at 11.41pm and returning at 6.40am. The inshore lifeboat Mary Maxwell and her volunteer crew joined the search for an hour and a half, launching just after 5am.

Hoylake RNLI’s volunteer crew were paged at 11.44pm and their Shannon class all-weather lifeboat Edmund Hawthorn Micklewood launched to carry out extensive searches for over 6 hours in Liverpool Bay and the mouth of the Dee Estuary. 

Llandudno’s all-weather lifeboat, William F Yates, joined the search just after midnight, returning home around 7am. Flint’s inshore RNLI lifeboat The Lady Barbara launched at 12.15am and searched out into the River Dee.

Chris Gaskin, Area Lifesaving Manager for North Wales, says: ‘This was a very long and arduous search for many of the RNLI crews, who spent many hours in darkness conducting a thorough search. Our crews are all volunteers, many of whom will be returning to their day jobs this morning, so being involved in a long tasking such as this really is testament to their skill and dedication. Nothing was found on this occasion but our crews are always ready to respond whenever the call for help comes.’

10 November: Dunbar

Dunbar RNLI’s volunteer lifeboat crew came to the rescue of Fergus the Flat-coated Retriever after he became stranded on some rocks during a beach walk. 

Fergus had jumped into the sea at Ravensheugh Beach near Tyninghame. His owner repeatedly tried to reach him but couldn’t, so the alarm was raised and UK Coastguard paged for Dunbar’s inshore lifeboat. Within 20 minutes the volunteer crew were on the scene and, with help from Coastguard teams from Dunbar and North Berwick on the shore, spotted Fergus stuck some distance out on rocks.

Helm Gordon Kirkham said: ‘By the time we arrived, Fergus had clearly been in the water for some time and was looking tired and scared. He was initially wary but became friendlier the more he got used to us. He was wary of the boat too and we had to physically lift him aboard. We even tried to coax him out with biscuits!

‘Eventually he was reunited with his very relieved owner. It was good to see him walk off, back on the lead, none the worse for his ordeal. The owner did the right thing in asking for help and not risking their own safety attempting to recover the dog themselves.’

14 November: Hoylake

RNLI Hoylake lifeboat ‘Edmund Hawthorn Micklewood’ launches to paddle boarders in difficulty.

RNLI/David Edwards

RNLI Hoylake lifeboat ‘Edmund Hawthorn Micklewood’ launches to paddle boarders in difficulty.

On Saturday afternoon, three paddleboarders were rescued by Hoylake RNLI after getting into difficulty at Leasowe Bay.

The paddleboarders had been swept out to sea by the ebbing spring tide and an offshore wind. The conditions were also choppy, making it very difficult for them to get back to the shore. One of the paddleboarders became separated from the group, who were drifting further away from dry land.

Hoylake’s volunteers launched their lifeboat, Edmund Hawthorn Micklewood, and quickly headed to the paddleboarders' reported location, over 3 miles out to sea from Leasowe. Meanwhile, the Wirral Coastguard Team were keeping the lone paddle boarder, who was closer inshore, under observation.

The Hoylake crew located the first two paddleboarders and brought them and their kit onboard – they were feeling the effects of having been in the cold water. The lifeboat then headed inshore and, with guidance from the Coastguard, found the third paddleboarder and brought them and their kit safely onboard too. Luckily no one required any medical attention and the paddleboarders warmed up back at the station.

22 November: Sligo Bay

RNLI/Donal Hackett

Sligo Bay RNLI

The volunteer crew at Sligo Bay launched their inshore lifeboat after four swimmers got into difficulty near Roses Point Beach.

The four women, who were all seasoned swimmers, struggled to get ashore at the beach due to a swell. Several onlookers on the beach raised the alarm, and Sligo Bay’s lifeboat and the Irish Coast Guard’s helicopter, Rescue 118 from Sligo, headed to the scene.

One swimmer managed to get ashore unaided while another was rescued by the volunteer lifeboat crew, who administered casualty care on the way back to the lifeboat station. The other two casualties were airlifted to safety by the helicopter. 

Aisling Gillen, Sligo Bay RNLI Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer, says: ‘We received a lovely message from one of the swimmers thanking us for saving their lives, which was very kind and we would like to wish them all well.’

Thank you for being a lifesaver

You don’t need to pull on a pair of yellow wellies or step aboard a lifeboat to be a lifesaver. Whether you share our safety advice with friends and family, give a kind donation, or selflessly volunteer your time to power our lifesaving work, you make a huge difference to saving lives at sea and we couldn’t do it without you. Thank you for being an intrinsic part of our lifesaving crew.