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Exmouth Crew volunteers rescue two sailors on RNLI safety campaign launch day

Lifeboats News Release

Inshore lifeboat George Bearman II launched at 11.57am on 25 May to two men in difficulty on a sailboat, half a mile south of Exmouth lifeboat station.

Exmouth RNLI volunteers towed the casualties to Mamhead slipway for recovery

RNLI/Emma Tarling

Crew volunteers towed the casualties to Mamhead slipway for recovery

A passing canoeist who had caught sight of sails flapping, came ashore and made a 999 call to the Coastguard. Crew volunteers were on scene within 10 minutes. The 22’ sailboat with outboard motor had lost its rudder and had also run out of fuel.

At the casualties’ request, the vessel was taken under tow to Mamhead slipway for recovery. George Bearman II left the casualties at 12.53pm and was ready again for service at the lifeboat station at 1.02pm.

Helm, Guy Munnings said:

‘It was clear that one of the casualties had been in the water to retrieve the rudder, putting himself at risk of Cold Water Shock syndrome. We were called to a similar scene last summer where a man tried to recover his oar. Tragically, when we arrived on scene, he had already drowned in the seemingly pleasant conditions, in a very short space of time.

‘Today, only one of the casualties was wearing a lifejacket and neither expected to end up in the water. On the launch day of our charity’s Respect the Water campaign, we would encourage anyone who is by our coast to know what to do in an unexpected situation. The sea is still very cold at this time of year and ending up in the water with sudden immersion can cause cold water shock, triggering an instinctive reaction to gasp and swim hard.

‘We would recommend to fight your instinct to swim and to lie back, opening your body up and float until breathing regulates. Then call for help. Make sure you have means of communication and suitable safety equipment before you set off.’

Notes to Editors

More details on our charity’s Respect the Water campaign can be found here:

Photos: (Credit Exmouth RNLI)

PR250517 Crew volunteers take the casualties to Mamhead slipway for recovery

For more information please telephone Emma Tarling, Exmouth RNLI Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer on 07837 810082 or email:

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