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Portishead RNLI volunteer Emma gets her first call out

Lifeboats News Release

It was a normal Sunday morning training session for the volunteers and on board for her second session on the water was new trainee crew member Emma. The crew were working on their navigation skills when a Mayday call came through on the radio.

Without a second thought the volunteers snapped in to action, before she knew it Emma was on her first official call out.  A yacht had run aground with three people on board by the Second Severn Crossing. 
SARA (Severn Area Rescue Association) who are based at Chepstow and another yacht in the area were also responding to the Mayday with the RNLI volunteers.  The second yacht was already on scene and was able to assist the people on to their boat but disaster struck when they also ran aground on rocks. 

SARA were able to remove the three people from the first yacht and took them back to Beachley as it was clear that with the outgoing tide the boat would be there for some time. The RNLI volunteers then assisted the second yacht who emptied their ballast tank which fortunately gave them enough buoyancy to float off of the rocks. 
The RNLI volunteers then escorted them to make sure they were happy and that no major damage had been done before setting off on their original destination.  Later that afternoon SARA were able to take the crew back to recover the stranded yacht and refloat it on the incoming tide.

On returning to the station at midday, Emma said: ‘It was great to see how the crew communicate and work with the other emergency services, it makes you appreciate why the training that we get is to such a high level.  It has made me more determined to get through the training now and become a fully qualified crew member.’

Bob Crane, Lifeboat Operations Manager at Portishead RNLI, said: ‘We wouldn’t normally send our trainees to a Mayday call but as the boat was on the water and we had three other very experienced crew members the helm took the decision to just go with Emma on the fourth seat. 
'Mayday calls are the most serious you can get and speed of response is very important.  Emma proved to us that she is unflappable and controlled in that scenario.  We are very pleased to have her along with our other new trainee crew.'

RNLI notes to editors
Photos credit RNLI Portishead.
1 Emma Berger, trainee crew member
2 Emma on the back seat taken from the boat camEmma on the back seat taken from the boat cam
3 My Lady Anne RNLI Portishead’s Atlantic 85

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For more information please contact Helen Lazenby, volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer, on 07800 595995 or the RNLI Press Office on 01202 336789.


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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