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Clacton RNLI volunteers’ quiet spell ends with back to back launch requests

Lifeboats News Release

The exceptional quiet start to 2018 for the volunteers at RNLI Clacton was interrupted at 10.15pm on Sunday 8 April with the first of two launches, resulting in a sleepless night for the volunteer crew.

Damarkand IV with 3 crew members on board

RNLI/Steve Duncombe

stock photo of Damarkand IV

UK Coastguard requested the first of the night’s launches after receiving reports of a vulnerable person near the Esplanade, Holland Haven.

The volunteer crew launched onto a calm sea and made best speed to start a shoreline search from Brighton Road to the sluice gates at Holland Haven. After completing a detailed search in which nothing was discovered the crew were stood down by UK Coastguard and returned to station.

With the crew just making it back to their beds the pagers sounded once again, requesting the second launch of the night for the D Class lifeboat Damarkand IV.

On this occasion the information was a little vaguer, resulting in the volunteer crew searching from Jaywick Sands to Holland Haven, along with a mobile coastguard unit from Holbrook. As with the first service nothing was discovered, and the crew were stood down by UK Coastguard.

After recovering the lifeboat and preparing it for service, the crew were finally able to see their beds again at 5am.

Volunteer Helm Daniel Thatcher said: 'With the recent very quiet spell I had to have a double take when the pager sounded. In 2016 we were launched on service 56 times, resulting in the volunteer crew spending over 340 hours at sea on service.'

Mr Thatcher went on to say: 'Even though the two services resulted in nothing being found, we urge anyone that sees anyone in trouble at sea, even if they are not 100% sure, to dial 999 or 112 and ask for the Coastguard. We would rather have a fruitless genuine search than not be called to someone in trouble.'

RNLI media contacts

  • Richard Wigley, Lifeboat Press Officer, Clacton RNLI: 07903 424698
  • Clare Hopps, RNLI Regional Media Officer, North East and East: 07824 518641
  • For enquiries outside normal business hours, contact the RNLI duty press officer on 01202 336789

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 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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