Early morning shout for Barmouth RNLI
While Barmouth RNLI volunteer crew member Russ Courtney was walking his dog during the early hours of Wednesday 21 June 2017, he was approached by a member of the public concerned about a group of males whom he had just seen launch a dinghy in the harbour.
Three males had been seen dragging an inflatable tender along the pontoon and rowing out into the darkness. It was warm evening with an easterly force 3 to 4 wind blowing.
Aware of the dangers of crossing the fast-flowing main channel in the dark, the crew member contacted the UK Coastguard who immediately authorised a launch of the Inshore Lifeboat (ILB).
The volunteer crew were paged at 01.17am and launched at 01.25. Senior helms Russ Courtney and Richard Jones along with crew member Alex Hill quickly located a yacht on the far side of the harbour with its masthead light on. On speaking to one of the five persons on board the yacht, it transpired that the tender was on its second run when it was spotted by the vigilant local man. When it was established that no-one was in danger and that all were safe aboard the yacht, the ILB departed the scene at 01.35 am and returned to station and ready for service again at 01.50 am.
Credit is due to the RNLI volunteers who turned out at such a late hour. No fewer than 18 crew members and shore crew turned up and stood by ready to launch the all-weather lifeboat should it have been necessary. The incident bore similarities to the shout to three Irish sailors swept out to sea in the main channel and whose lives were saved by Barmouth RNLI a year ago.
Coxswain Pete Davies said: ‘Again, it was a very good turn out from the station. I am very glad that all the crew on the yacht were safe and well. They did the right thing by alerting us, it is always better to be safe than sorry.’
Key facts about the RNLI
The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates over 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.