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Unusual Shout for Bude Lifeboat to Canal Barge

Lifeboats News Release

Bude lifeboat attended three shouts on Wednesday 6 July, two which saw assistance given to a 60ft canal barge and the other to assist in the search for a missing person.

The latter of which saw RNLI shore crew member Mim Spettigue attend her first shout.

At 2.06pm the inshore lifeboat was requested to take over an escort from Appledore lifeboat by Falmouth Coastguard. The escort was for a 60ft Canal Barge which had been heading down the coast from Ilfracombe. The crew, Jez Brown, Mike Tame and Daniel Lewis-Bale made sure they were anchored safely until high tide when they were able to approach the lock gates in order to lock in to the canal. The owners were very anxious about navigating the barge into Bude harbour but were unharmed.

The lifeboat returned to the barge with crew Liam Sharpe, Charlie Green and Daniel Lewis Bale at approximately 6.00pm after assistance was requested again following a slight swell that picked up resulting in the Orbis losing her anchor. The lifeboat ‘George Bird’ launched with four crew and put two crewmembers aboard to liaise with the harbour master due to size of vessel and her poor manoeuvrability and to assist piloting her into harbour. The Orbis was safely locked into the canal by the lock gate crew.

Chris Wilson, Lifeboat Operations Manager said of the unusual event: 'You don't expect to see a 60ft Canal Barge off the north coast of Cornwall and it required careful planning and good teamwork by the crew and harbour team to safely navigate the vessel into Bude Lock due to her  poor manoeuvrability. I would encourage anybody taking to sea to always ensure they carefully plan their journey and ensure that they are correctly equipped.'

The final shout of the day saw the lifeboat being requested to launch at 9.33pm despite failing light to assist in a search for a missing person.  The crew, Liam Sharpe, Mark Palmer, Charlie Green and Gavin Goatcher worked closely with Bude Coastguard and completed a shoreline search from Northcott to Compass Point. Having completed the search, the RNLI lifeboat returned to station in total darkness and an increasing swell.

Despite the late hour many of Bude’s crew responded to the page request and volunteered to assist in the search.  The lifeboat crew carried additional equipment to allow them to operate in darkness and worked closely together to safely navigate back to shore. This shout was also the first for shore crew Mim Spettigue who has completed her initial training and is now waiting to complete full tractor soft trac training.

Mim said: ‘I joined the lifeboat crew a few months ago having spent a couple of years as a WAG! During this time I’ve witnessed, admired and respected the crew’s camaraderie, the job they do is completely voluntarily and inspirational and I wanted to contribute towards saving lives at sea. I responded to the pager in order to assist the crew with launching, refuelling and cleaning the lifeboat when it returned. I’m still in training but it was a great opportunity to accompany Jeff and Kila on the launch.'

Everyone at the station was pleased to hear that the missing gentleman was found safe and well the following morning.

You can follow Bude lifeboat on Facebook ‘Bude Lifeboat’ and Twitter @budelifeboat

Notes to editors

• Photos attached of the Orbis and Min Spettigue

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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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