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 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.