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Busy Sunday for Whitby RNLI's inshore lifeboat

Lifeboats News Release

Whitby's inshore lifeboat was launched twice on Sunday 14th August after a diver suffered from decompression sickness and a fishing vessel took on water in the harbour.

The inshore lifeboat was launched by three volunteer crew at 1.20pm after a diver was brought to harbour in his boat after he began suffering the effects of decompression sickness.

Decompression sickness, also know as The Bends, occurs when a diver resurfaces too quickly. 

The RNLI crew provided medical assistance and oxygen until an ambulance arrived to take the casualty to hospital in Hull, which has the nearest decompression chamber.

Station mechanic Richard Dowson said: 'Ideally we would have known about the casualty as soon as he resurfaced so we could offer immediate medical assistance. If you are out at sea and believe you are suffering from decompression sickness you should call the coastguard who will request the assistance of the RNLI who can make a quick medical assessment.'

He added: 'We would rather people err on the side of caution than risk their health and safety.'

Not long after the inshore boat had been returned to the station, the crew were paged a second time to assist with a boat that was taking on water.

The inshore lifeboat was launched at 1pm to help pump out water from the fishing vessel Copious, The local fire crew were also in attendance.

The boat was successfully pumped out and remained afloat.

RNLI media contact
For more information contact Whitby Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer Ceri Oakes on 07813359428 or at

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 Ireland from 238 lifeboat stations, including four along the River Thames and inland lifeboat stations at Loch Ness, Lough Derg, Enniskillen, Carrybridge and Lough Ree. Additionally the RNLI has more than 1,000 lifeguards on over 240 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.

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Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

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