View as PDF

Eight metre humpback whale rescued from line of whelk pots

Lifeboats News Release

The 15 ton whale had been feeding with her calf in Start Bay for the last three weeks when she became caught by her tail by a heavy line of whelk pots.

The RNLI Dart D class inshore lifeboat launched to assist and provide safety cover for divers from the British Divers Marine Life Rescue organisation. The lifeboat took two divers out to assess the situation and they found that the whale had become snared by a line of pots that was anchored to the sea bed a quarter of a mile off Blackpool Sands in Start Bay, South Devon. Cutting equipment was brought out from the beach and initially the crew and the drivers attempted to pull the line close enough to the lifeboat to cut it. When this was shown to be impractical the all weather lifeboat from Salcombe was asked to assist and two of their crew were put aboard the fishing boat belonging to the owner of the pots, with the divers and members of the Dart lifeboat crew. The whale was then gently guided closer by pulling on the line until it became possible for a diver to reach down from the side of the fishing boat and to cut the line. When she had been freed the whale sped off and joined her calf.

The diver leant down from the fishing boat to cut the whale free

RNLI

The humpback whale was cut free from the line of pots
The 15 ton whale was gently pulled alongside the lifeboat in an attempt to cut it free.

RNLI

the whale was initially gently brought alongside the lifeboat to try to cut the rope.
As soon as the rope was cut the mother whale sped off to join her calf.

RNLI

As soon as the rope was cut the mother whale sped off to join her calf.

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.

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 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or or by email.

Categories