A busy weekend for the Dart lifeboat

Lifeboats News Release

Four shouts, a free lifejacket clinic and over six hours training on the water kept the Dart volunteers occupied.

An empty yact tender was found drifting in Start Bay

RNLI/Crispin Brabner lifeboat crew

Yacht tender drifting off Coombe Point, Start Bay
The pagers first sounded just before 9am on Saturday 14 April as the Operations and Community Lifesaving teams were gathering at the lifeboat station for the annual free lifejacket check.

A 3 metre tender had been found floating south west of the Dart estuary with the engine in the down position and the cover off. It was assessed as a possible ‘man overboard’ situation. The D class inshore lifeboat crew working with the Dartmouth Coastguard SAR team searched the sea and coastline for an hour before the owner of a yacht was found as he was about to sail from Dartmouth. It was presumed that his tender had been deliberately set adrift overnight.

At the lifeboat station the team from Ocean Safety in Plymouth carried out checks on 124 lifejackets and only had to reject three. The figure has dropped over the last seven years when initially over a third were found to be unfit for use.

The exciting news had been released the day before that the RNLI Trustees had authorised a two year trial of a B class lifeboat at RNLI Dart. (See previous news release, dated 13 April 2018) The immediate response of the crew was to use all available training time on the D class so that everyone was fully proficient when the B class arrives for trial later in the year. The volunteers spent over six and a half hours training on the water over the weekend.

They were only 200 metres away, opposite Noss Marina in Dartmouth harbour, when a Bayliner cabin cruiser developed a broken water pipe and required a salvage pump. The lifeboat crew informed the Coastguard and self-launched to return to the lifeboat station for a pump. When they returned they found the Bayliner had been taken in tow by a vessel from the Dart Harbour Navigation Authority which already had placed a pump on board.

The fourth call of the weekend was to a 35 ft. cabin cruiser with two on board that had put out a Pan pan distress call as it was passing the Mewstone. The crew were training up-river and met the casualty at the visitors pontoon at Darthaven Marina. The lady was given oxygen and assessed by an RNLI trained Casualty Care crew member. She and her husband were then taken across the river in the lifeboat to an ambulance waiting on the Dartmouth side. After assessment by the ambulance crew the lady was later able to return to her boat.

Full descriptions of these launches can be found on the www.dartlifeboat.org.uk web site.

The Ocean Safety team inspected and inflated 124 lifejackets

RNLI/Dr John Fenton

124 lifejackets owned by local mariners were checked by Ocean Safety
A speedboat with fuel problems was escorted back to Dartmouth

RNLI/Katy Locke Dart lifeboat crew

A speedboat with fuel problems was escorted back to Dartmouth
The track of the Dart lifeboat during the 3 launches on 14 April 2018

RNLI/Dr John Fenton

The track of the Dart lifeboat during the 3 launches on 14 April 2018

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, in a normal year, 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.

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 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or by email.