View as PDF

St Mary’s RNLI help rescue 48 people from passenger boat taking on water

Lifeboats News Release

The volunteer crew at St Mary’s RNLI assisted in the rescue of 48 people from a passenger boat in the Isles of Scilly after it began taking on water.

St Mary’s RNLI lifeboat was launched at 11.35am yesterday (Sunday 15 May) following a mayday call from a local passenger vessel Surprise which had got into trouble in the Western Rocks area.

Nearby boats, including the fishing vessel Pioneer and a rigid inflatable boat (RIB), responded to the mayday call and were on scene within minutes to help the stricken boat. The RIB was brought alongside Surprise and began transferring passengers to the Pioneer.

Other boats in the area, including the water ambulance, were able to get alongside the boat to help transport the last of the passengers. A Coastguard rescue helicopter from Newquay also attended to offer assistance.

When the RNLI lifeboat arrived on the scene, a volunteer crew member was put aboard the Surprise with a salvage pump.

The volunteer crew of St Mary’s RNLI then transported the passengers from all the nearby boats into the lifeboat in order to get an accurate head count and check for injuries.

The lifeboat returned the passengers to St Mary’s Harbour and into the care of the coastguard team and ambulance crews. Once all the passengers were safely ashore, the lifeboat returned to escort the Surprise back to the shore.

Pete Hicks, St Mary’s RNLI Coxswain, said: ‘Throughout this incident the skipper and crew of the Surprise acted professionally and with great care towards the passengers which is evident as not one of the passengers got wet, everyone had a lifejacket on and all were in good spirits.

‘Thanks has to go to all the vessels involved that responded to the scene and others that offered to help. The swift response ensured that all passengers were transported from the boat quickly and safely brought ashore.’

The Surprise was recovered to Porthloo.

Note to editors

Video footage is attached- credit Maritime & Coastguard Agency.

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.

Learn more about the RNLI

For more information please visit the RNLI website or Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. News releases, videos and photos are available on the News Centre.

Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 or by email.


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