Barrow Lifeboat Rescues Man from Capsized Dingy in Walney Channel

Lifeboats News Release

Volunteer crew from the RNLI’s Barrow station launched both their inshore and all-weather lifeboats late last night to search for a man who had been reported as missing in the sea off Piel Island.

The request to launch the lifeboat came from Holyhead Coastguard at 10-53pm yesterday evening. The information received was that a man had been using a dingy as a tender boat between his yacht, which was moored in Pile Bight, and Piel Island. His friend, safely on Piel Island, raised the alarm when the man failed to return from his yacht to Piel after some 20 minutes. The lifeboat crew were paged and at 11-05pm the inshore lifeboat, Vision of Tamworth, was launched crewed by Dave Kell at the helm and assisted by Matthew Tippins.

The inshore lifeboat made an initial search to locate the yacht and having done so established that there was nobody on board and no sign of the dingy. The decision was then taken to launch the all-weather lifeboat, Grace Dixon, to assist with the search and she was launched at 11-20pm under the command of Shaun Charnley with a full crew on board. At the time, there was a moderate breeze with a strong incoming tide running, high water being at 1.20 am (Sunday) with a predicted height of 8.9 metres. Based on this information, the crew of the inshore lifeboat decided to search further along Walney Channel heading towards Barrow. 

At 11-25pm the crew of the inshore lifeboat located the man in the vicinity of No.6 Buoy on the west side of Walney Channel. His inflatable dingy had capsized whilst he was in Piel Chanel and he was thrown into the water. The man, who was wearing a life-jacket, had spent several minutes in the water before managing to climb onto the upturned dingy. He had attempted to row to safety but the incoming tide was too strong to enable him to make any progress and the current had carried him along the Channel. 

The casualty, a man from Lancaster, was transferred to the inshore lifeboat and he was then brought back to the lifeboat station arriving at approximately 11-40pm. An ambulance was called to take the casualty to Furness General Hospital. However, after having been given dry clothing and hot drinks by the lifeboat crew, the ambulance crew assessed the casualty as well enough to proceed home.

The Vision of Tamworth was stood down at 11-55pm but the Grace Dixon remained afloat whilst communication with the Coastguard continued in order to confirm that there were no other persons in danger. The man on Piel Island who had raised the alarm was kindly offered shelter there for the night by the landlord of the Ship Inn. 

Both lifeboats were re-housed by 1-00am and were made ready for the next launch.

Notes to editors
Barrow lifeboat station has been operating since 1864. To learn more about the lifeboat station go to
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The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates over 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.

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