St Ives RNLI lifeboat crew respond to a sighting of a marooned liferaft
On Wednesday 29 November at 10.40am Robert Cocking, Coxswain, and his volunteer crew launched the St Ives RNLI all-weather lifeboat in response to a call from the Falmouth coastguard.
A member of the public had reported seeing a life raft that was inexplicably abandoned in the Fisherman’s Cove area. The conditions at the time of launching were severe with very rough seas and a strong gusting wind. A decision as to whether the inshore lifeboat would be required as well was to be made on arrival at the
scene, depending on the sea and weather conditions. In the meantime the Portreath Coastguard and Portreath Cliff Rescue teams had already sighted the liferaft in the sea below the cliffs and had reported they could see an open survival blanket aboard the raft. At this point the coxswain decided to call for the assistance of the St Ives inshore
lifeboat, which offered greater flexibility around coastal rocks and caves. At 11.25am with George Deacon at the helm, the inshore lifeboat was launched and made its way to the scene. Due to the very difficult sea and weather conditions it was escorted to the scene by the all weather-lifeboat. Helm Deacon and his crew did manage to locate the unmanned liferaft but due to tidal conditions the liferaft was washed deep inside a cave. Despite several attempts in very challenging conditions, the highly skilled crew deemed it impossible to retrieve the raft. At
12.20pm the Falmouth Coastguard requested both lifeboats to stand down and to return to base. In very difficult and trying conditions both crews and boats returned safely to the lifeboat station at 1.10pm. It is hoped that the Cliff Rescue team who were on the scene during this period will be able to recover the liferaft once the tide has ebbed and hopefully identify and enlighten everyone as to how it got there.
It is worth noting that this was the first shout for Nick Phillips as the mechanic on the all-weather lifeboat – a proud moment for him and his family.
All-weather lifeboat crew: Coxswain Robert Cocking, Mechanic Nick Phillips and volunteer crew - Daisy Jarvis, Barney Stevens, Ian Timms, David Holland-Kemp. Inshore Lifeboat crew: Senior helm George Deacon and volunteer crew - Jack Coop, David Chard.
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
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