First call-out for Staithes' new lifeboat

Lifeboats News Release

Staithes and Runswick RNLI’s new lifeboat was in action last night just 48 hours after coming into service.

The new Atlantic 85 Sheila & Dennis Tongue III spent more than four hours at sea looking after a missing night angler under Boulby cliff.

The 35 year-old man had become separated from two colleagues and got lost on the foreshore after descending the 600 ft cliff, the highest on England’s east coast, on a steep scramble known as Rope Walk.

After the alarm was raised to the Coastguard, the Staithes lifeboat launched and located the missing man. Crew member Tim Hurford swam ashore from the lifeboat to see that he was safe, 20 feet above the high tide mark.

Because of the swell and the big rocks under the cliff, helmsman Mark Porritt kept the lifeboat stood off at sea until high tide had safely passed while Coastguards stayed at the top of the cliff.

The four strong volunteer crew returned to Staithes at 3 am this morning (Tuesday).

Sean Baxter, Deputy Launch Authority at the station, said: ‘This is a difficult and dangerous descent at night and we do urge anglers to know their tide times, stay together and ensure they have good communications if they get into trouble. The new lifeboat and crew acquitted themselves admirably in difficult and unpleasant conditions.’

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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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