Salcombe RNLI tasked during Storm Ophelia
With Storm Ophelia battering the coast of Devon and Cornwall the RNLI Salcombe all-weather lifeboat (ALB) and its volunteer crew launched to reports of a swimmer in difficulty in the mouth of the river Avon last week (18 October) .
The volunteer crew launched into weather conditions almost identical to those 101 years earlier, when thirteen members of the crew of the lifeboat the William and Emma lost their lives after an abortive mission to assist the schooner Western Lass, wrecked in a storm near Pawle Point.
The tragedy occurred on October 27 1916, when battling against near hurricane force winds the lifeboat crew returned for home, but on attempting to re-cross the Salcombe Bar their lifeboat capsized and 13 of the 15-man crew drowned.
The current Tamar class Salcombe lifeboat, The Baltic Exchange III, is certainly far better equipped to deal with sea conditions such as those it faced this past week. However, the skills, commitment and bravery of the crews remains as dedicated as it was in 1916.
After a short search of the area the crew were stood down following confirmation from the Coastguard there was no persons in the water but the call had been made with good intent.
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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 230 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and has more than 180 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK. 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 140,000 lives.
A charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SCO37736). Charity number CHY 2678 in the Republic of Ireland
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