Busy Sunday afternoon for Lymington RNLI volunteers

Lifeboats News Release

Two shouts in quick succession provided a busy afternoon on Sunday 22 April for Lymington RNLI lifeboat volunteers.

RNLI branded lifejackets and sea

RNLI/James Douch

Lymington RNLI crew searching for overdue paddle boarder 22 April 2018

The first call just after 1.30pm was to a 36ft power boat adrift without power off the Needles. Despite there being only a slight mist in the Lymington River, fog in the western Solent and Needles Channel reduced visibility to less than 100metres making for a slow passage and requiring full use of knowledge gained in the hours spent on radar training.

Arriving on the scene the volunteer crew of Lymington RNLI Atlantic 85 David Bradley found that the stricken vessel which had been on passage from Poole to Port Solent had been taken in tow by a tender from the UK Border Force Cutter Seeker which had been able to hold the casualty vessel off the Dolphin Bank by stemming the tide. Taking over the tow the lifeboat crew made a sweep around the back of the infamous Shingles Bank to bring the casualty vessel up the North Channel in better visibility.

Arriving off the entrance to the Lymington River the tow was shortened to alongside and the casualty vessel manoeuvered through the Sunday afternoon river traffic to a berth on the Harbour Commissioners Dan Bran pontoon.

With the casualty vessel secured and the cradle repositioned at the top of the slipway ready for the lifeboat recovery the crew were tasked to a further immediate tasking.

Second call at 3.40pm was to a report direct to the station by a concerned relative of an overdue paddle boarder who had last been seen launching in the Keyhaven area, but who had not returned home. Following a consultation on local knowledge of wind and tidal status and the with the coastguard tasking formalised, good speed was made in clearing visibility back to Keyhaven in preparation for a shore line search.

Inquiries around the quayside revealed that his car was no longer in the car park and the supposition was that he had landed unseen and gone home. However further investigations revealed that the concerned relative had driven the car home, unwittingly taking with it the paddle boarders mobile phone thus rendering him unable to call anyone on his return to shore. The lifeboat crew were then able to identify that a paddle boarder matching the persons description had been seen coming ashore, deflating his inflatable board and setting off walking in the direction of Lymington possibly along the seawall or the ancient highway.

Lymington CG mobile unit joined the search having made a hasty departure from their media engagement at the Beaulieu Boat Jumble approaching the seawall and ancient highway from both ends but with no success. Shortly afterwards the station received a call to confirm that the paddle boarder had arrived home and once coastguard confirmation of this was received, the search was stood down.

Lymington lifeboat returned to station shortly after 4.30pm to be readied for further service after a total of 3 hours at sea.

Helmsman’s quote: The requirement for this search could probably have been avoided if the paddle boarder had taken his mobile with him in a waterproof container, rather than leave it in his car and made arrangements with his shore contact for ‘safely ashore’ communications.

Lifeboat Press Officer note: We are of course happy to take a running call but concerned relatives should ring 999 and ask for the Coastguard, not ring a member of our crew who just happened to be at the station dealing with the first shout, however well that person is known.

Notice to Editors:

· For over 50 years, Lymington RNLI Lifeboat has provided search, rescue and lifesaving capability in the western Solent, Needles Channel and eastern sector of Christchurch Bay.

· Entries are now open through our website: www.lymingtonlifeboat.co.uk for our annual 10k and children’s fun run fundraiser being held this year on Sunday 15 May.

· The RNLI Lifeboat Station open days will be on: Saturday 11 and Sunday 12 August 2018 coinciding with the food festival being held on the adjacent Bath Road Park.

RNLI Media Contacts:

  • Peter Mills, Lymington RNLI Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer 07767 213583 peter@locarno.co.uk
  • Paul Dunt, Regional Media Officer (South East) on 0207 6207426, 07785 296252 email: paul_dunt@rnli.org.uk

· For enquiries outside normal business hours, contact the RNLI duty press officer on 01202 336789 email: pressoffice@rnli.org

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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