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RNLI lifeboats on both sides of Bristol Channel diverted from training to search

Lifeboats News Release

A number of lifeboats were called to assist in the search for an apparently overdue vessel in the Bristol Channel.

Lifeboat being launched on exercise prior to real-life shout

RNLI/Andy Berry

RNLI Penarth's Atlantic Class lifeboat

The alarm was raised as RNLI lifeboats from Penarth and Portishead were undertaking their regular Tuesday evening (15 November) training night.

Reports were made of a vessel which was apparently overdue and lost somewhere in the Channel. Both of Penarth RNLI's lifeboats and the Portishead RNLI lifeboat were directed to undertake a systematic search. The Severn Area Rescue Association boat was also launched to assist.

Barry Dock RNLI lifeboat were also placed on immediate readiness for launch. After searching for about an hour it was confirmed that the call was a false alarm, the vessel was not at sea and the people thought to be on board were safely ashore.

All of the lifeboats were stood down and returned to station.

For one crew member the shout came as he prepared for his final Helm assessment. Ian Alder ("Wrinks") from the Portishead crew had just completed his final Helm development session prior to assessment, and he was allowed to take command of the boat under close supervision.

This shout demonstrates the importance of lifeboat crews working across the Bristol Channel to liaise closely and to train together periodically so that in an emergency they can provide a seamless, efficient and effective rescue service.

Media contacts:

For more information please contact Andy Berry, Penarth RNLI Lifeboat Press Officer, on 07951 051128 or Chris Cousens, RNLI Press Officer, Wales and West, on 07748 265496 or 01745 585162 or by email on

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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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