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Long and busy night for Plymouth RNLI lifeboat crew

Lifeboats News Release

The volunteer crew of Plymouth RNLI lifeboat had a busy night responding to casualties caught out by the spring tides on 22 August.

RNLI/Les Butler

Persons cut off by tide

Spring tides, which cause very high and very low tides, meant the all-weather lifeboat (ALB), the Atlantic and the Arancia were all launched few hours apart.

The first launch was the all-weather lifeboat (ALB) and the inshore lifeboat (ILB) at 7.11pm to a report of seven people cut off by the tide at Whitsand Bay. Once on scene and after assessing the situation the tide was now on the turn and receding. There was quite a big swell at the shore and getting the casualties onto the lifeboat wasn’t going to be easy so the crew and cliff rescue team stood by until they were able to assist the people from the cove to safety. Plymouth's ALB Sybil Mullen Glover and the ILB, along with volunteer crew then returned to the lifeboat station.

The second launch came at 11.16pm when the ILB and the Arancia class lifeboats were tasked to a motor boat which had run aground at Cargreen on the River Tamar with six people on board. As the tide was still going out and it was late the volunteer crew escorted five of the casualties to the shore to safety. One of the casualties remained with the vessel with the volunteer crew until the tide came back in .Once the vessel was afloat again the now tired crew returned to the lifeboat station at 5.30am ready to start their usual day jobs.

Both shouts were attended efficiently and with compassion. The RNLI station, lifeboats and crew are on call 24/7, 365 days a year and proud to be a part of it.

Coxswain David Milford said: ‘The tides vary so much. At the moment the tides are exceptionally high or exceptionally low and it’s important members of the public are aware of the tides when they visit a beach or tidal river.’

Notes to editors

  • Plymouth RNLI lifeboat has been operating since 1862. To learn more about the lifeboat station go to
  • Enclosed picture Severn class lifeboat on scene with the casualty. Credit Les Butler RNLI mechanic.

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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.

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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