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Looe RNLI lifeboat crew rescue a girl on an inflatable being blown out to sea

Lifeboats News Release

The volunteer crews with Looe RNLI launched their D Class inshore lifeboat earlier this afternoon, Friday 18 August 2017, to rescue a young girl on an inflatable being blown out to sea off East Looe beach. The girl was picked up and taken back to the boathouse where she was reunited with her family.

Stock Picture - Looe RNLI D Class Ollie Naismith passing the Banjo Pier and White Rock

RNLI/Ian Foster

Stock Picture - Looe RNLI D Class Ollie Naismith passing the Banjo Pier and White Rock

Looe RNLI volunteers were alerted at 1.50 pm by multiple reports of a young girl on a small blue inflatable being blown out to sea off East Looe beach. Within 4 minutes the charity’s D Class inshore lifeboat Ollie Naismith was launched and made her way out into Looe bay. A local charter fishing boat returning to port, responding to people on the Banjo Pier waving and pointing, turned and made her way over towards the inflatable which had already been blown out further into the bay. A minute later the girl was picked up, transferred into the inshore lifeboat and taken back to the RNLI boathouse where cold, wet and frightened, but uninjured, she was reunited with her family.

Dave Haines, Lifeboat Operations Manager with Looe RNLI says “This type of incident highlights the dangers of using inflatables in the open sea. Blow-up toys and airbeds are designed for pools, not the sea where they can easily and very quickly be swept out far from shore. If you do use them keep close to shore and supervise children at all times. Beach goers should always make themselves aware of the wind direction and strength as offshore winds will blow inflatables further out to sea.”

Dave Haines goes on to say that “Fortunately the sea conditions were relatively calm and the inflatable did not flip over in the wind or capsize, it may have been a very different outcome if the occupant had fallen into the water.”

Looe RNLI’s volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer who was on East Looe beach at the time with his family realised something was wrong and was one of the people to raise the alarm, he commented on how quickly the inflatable was being blown out to sea in the strong offshore North Westerly winds. Others on the beach were calling the Coastguard on 999 and a number of people reported the incident to our boathouse guide at the Lifeboat Station.

Crew - Toby Bray ( helm ) Clive Palfrey and Gareth Shaw.


Notes to editors

· No pictures of this rescue are available

· Stock Picture -
Looe RNLI D Class Ollie Naismith passing the Banjo Pier and White Rock
credit Looe RNLI / Ian Foster

· For further information on Looe RNLI Lifeboats please visit our website

RNLI media contacts

For more information please telephone Ian Foster, RNLI Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer for Looe Lifeboat Station, on 07902 753228 or or


Amy Caldwell, RNLI Public Relations Manager, on 07920 818807 or


Carrie Garrad, RNLI Press Officer, on 07786 668847 or

Alternatively you can contact the RNLI Duty Press Officer 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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The RNLI is a charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SC037736). Charity number 20003326 in the Republic of Ireland