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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.’

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