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Both Exmouth lifeboats launched in river search

Lifeboats News Release

At lunchtime on 24 August, inshore lifeboat George Bearman and Shannon class lifeboat R and J Welburn were tasked by the Coastguard to search the river Exe for a possible missing person.

A member of the public had contacted the Coastguard to report an unidentified inflatable dinghy drifting in the river Exe, off Cockwood. The vessel contained personal belongings and there was concern for a missing person.

The D class lifeboat launched at 12.38pm and the Shannon class lifeboat at 1.10pm, with Teignmouth Coastguard team assisting the search ashore between Starcross Yacht club and Cockwood. The search was called off approximately two hours later when two men aboard a sailing boat appeared in the river who identified their tender.

R and J Welburn returned to station at 2.40pm and George Bearman at 3.05pm after assisting the two local men ashore.

Exmouth RNLI Coxswain Steve Hockings-Thompson said:

‘Soon after our return, the owner of the dinghy has thanked us through our Facebook page and he realises the gravity of his actions. We advised him to mark his tender clearly in case a similar situation should happen. Luckily we had a positive outcome today and we would rather be called out on a false alarm than deal with alternative results.’


Notes to editors 


PR250816      Shannon class lifeboat R and J Welburn is recovered to Exmouth lifeboat station.


Exmouth RNLI has been operating since 1858.  To learn more about the lifeboat stations past and present go to

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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.

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