Lifesaving roundup: You’re behind every rescue

As we gear up for a busy summer season, let’s take a look at some spring rescues your support made possible.

While many of us looked at the weather forecast, baffled, unsure whether we should be packing a brolly, a coat or sunglasses during the unpredictable spring months, RNLI lifesavers were prepared. Whatever the weather, they ran to the rescue at a moment’s notice to help those in desperate need. 

These rescues wouldn’t have been possible without the kind support of people like you. Thank you.

West Kirby: 26 March

West Kirby’s D class inshore lifeboat on exercise, with four crew members onboard

Photo: David Edwards 

The D class crew at West Kirby come to the rescue of two walkers

The pleasant weather in late March brought lots of walkers to the coast. But for two women from Liverpool, a Saturday morning stroll on the sand resulted in a hospital trip. 

The pair were walking towards Hilbre Island, at the mouth of the Dee Estuary, when they both slipped on rocks. During the fall, one of the women seriously injured her shoulder. An off-duty nurse saw the accident, quickly called the Coastguard and waited with the two women for help to arrive. 

The West Kirby RNLI volunteers were already out on the water training, not far from the injured walkers. They quickly reached the casualties, assessed them, and took them back to the station to provide medical care. The woman with the shoulder injury was then taken to hospital for treatment.

Richard Diamond, Lifeboat Operations Manager at West Kirby RNLI, says: ‘We can’t thank the passer-by enough for her quick decision-making and the care she provided before further help arrived. We would always encourage people to carry a means of communication and to phone 999 should they find themselves in any danger.’

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Plymouth: 3 April

Over in Plymouth, local volunteers launched both lifeboats to help rescue two teenage boys who were trapped deep inside a cave. They’d been trying to help a pigeon when they were caught out by the coming tide. 

With the light fading – and the tide rising – time was of the essence.

The inshore lifeboat Annabel E Jones, crewed by Helm Joe Sibley, Cameron Hicks and Sam Stephen, powered to the scene. As they approached the shoreline, they were guided towards the cave by the local police and Plymouth Coastguard using torches. The crew then carefully guided the lifeboat inside the dark cave.

It didn’t take the volunteers long to find the casualty, a 14-year-old boy from Plymouth, who was cold and wet but uninjured. His friend had already made his way out of the cave to raise the alarm. 

After getting the teenager aboard the inshore lifeboat, the crew returned him to shore and into the care of the Plymouth Coastguard Rescue Team and Devon and Cornwall Police.

Queensferry: 24 April

Later that month, over in Queensferry, RNLI volunteers raced to the rescue of a capsized kayaker. 

The crew were just finishing a joint training exercise with their neighbouring station Kinghorn when a kayaker in difficulty put out a call for help from their handheld VHF radio. At the same time, a walker spotted the kayaker from land, and dialled 999 to raise the alarm. 

Quickly relaunching their inshore lifeboat Jimmie Cairncross, the Queensferry crew fought through rough seas and large swells and arrived on scene within 20 minutes. The casualty had stayed with their kayak and raised their paddle in the air to attract the crew’s attention. 

Two crew members pulled the kayaker aboard the lifeboat. They were visibly very cold and tired. As the volunteers rushed the kayaker to nearby Granton Harbour, they constantly assessed their wellbeing and worked to protect them from more exposure to the cold. Once they reached the harbour, the kayaker was passed into the care of the UK Coastguard until the Scottish Ambulance Service arrived. 

Queensferry Helm Mike says: ‘Although the kayaker was extremely cold and tired, they managed to stay with the kayak and hold their paddle up in the air which helped us find them quickly. They were also wearing a personal flotation device (PFD). When we reached the casualty, they were unsure how long they had been in the water for. Their training and equipment played a massive part in the outcome of this rescue.’

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Fethard: 1 May

Fethard’s D class inshore lifeboat, with three crew members aboard

Photo: RNLI/Fethard

For the crew at Fethard, the month of May began with a request to launch from the Irish Coast Guard. There was a yacht in difficulty, with four people onboard.

The Fethard crew were at a festival at Hook Lighthouse, sharing sea safety advice with locals and visitors, when their pagers sounded. With no time to lose, they rushed to the station, launched their lifeboat, and made best speed for the yacht.  

They soon found the yacht and checked the four crew were all safe and well. Coast Guard Helicopter Rescue 117 hovered overhead while the Fethard volunteers assessed the situation. Using a tow, the lifeboat crew eased the yacht into deeper, safer water, and the yacht was able to continue under its own power.

Fethard RNLI Helm Eoin Bird says: 'As this year’s leisure boat season gets underway, those taking to the water should ensure that their maritime charts are up to date, that they have relevant tide tables and at least one means of communication, and that all equipment on their vessel is fully operational and in-date. And most importantly, that all crew onboard always wear a lifejacket.’

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These are just a few of the shouts brave RNLI lifesavers have responded to over the spring – and they’ll be even busier this summer. 

On sandy beaches, and miles offshore, our crews and lifeguards are on a mission to save every one. We won’t stand by while people are in danger. Not on our watch. And that’s why we rely on your support.