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Call outs to the Dart RNLI lifeboat are never quite what you expect.

Lifeboats News Release

The RNLI Dart volunteers were called out at 10.30pm on Thursday 3 November to investigate reports of a red flare that had been seen in the Stoke Gabriel area of the River Dart.

When the crew arrived on scene 15 minutes later they were told that no boat had been seen to have sent up an emergency red flare, but there had been fireworks let off in the vicinity of the Stoke Gabriel Boathouse and a fire could be seen to be burning from across the river. The lifeboat crew went ashore at Stoke Point to confirm the sighting of fireworks but found no one there. The spent hot fireworks had however been gathered up and put in a plastic bag and this was now well alight and endangering the boathouse itself. Fortunately there was a water tap close by and the crew were able to douse the flames.

This was the second fire alarm call that the crew had attended in the last two days. The Dartmouth Fire Brigade volunteers and the RNLI lifeboat crew had been called out to the alarming report of a boat on fire close to the Higher Ferry in Dartmouth. Once they were afloat it was obvious that there was no sign of smoke and it took some time to establish that the alarm had been raised when the crew of a 36ft. classic yacht had lit their wood burner for the first time this winter and the soot in the chimney had produced a burst of dense smoke.

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.

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 or by email.


The RNLI is a charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SC037736). Charity number 20003326 in the Republic of Ireland