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Both of Penarth RNLI's lifeboats in major Sully Island exercise

Lifeboats News Release

As summer approaches a combined search and rescue incident was undertaken at Sully Island, Sunday 29 April 2018.

RNLI/Andy Berry

Penarth lifeboats at scene of exercise
Visitors to Sully Island could be left in no doubt about the force of the incoming tide this weekend as they saw a multi-agency exercise.

Three highly trained RNLI lifeguards, and two training mannequins were placed on the causeway just as the tide was starting to cover the rocks. Within a short period of time the mannequins were washed away, and the three lifeguards swept away into the strong currents.

Both of Penarth's lifeboats, together with Barry Dock all-weather lifeboat, crewed by volunteers, were on standby to rescue the volunteers and recover the mannequins.

In addition one lifeguard was winched by Coastguard Rescue Helicopter 187, which is based at St Athan, and returned to the beach at Sully. This joint exercise also involved the coastguard rescue officers from Penarth and Barry, coastguard officers from Milford Haven, the national coast watch group from Nell's Point NCI. Arranged chiefly as a combined exercise, visitors to the beach could be left in no doubt how quickly the tide comes in to cover the causeway - and the speed the 'casualties' were carried off by the tide.

Jason Dunlop, lifeboat operations manager for Penarth Station, said:

'Today's exercise demonstrated great partnership working, and showed how forceful the incoming tide is on the causeway. We used highly trained RNLI lifeguards as casualties, who were well equipped and well trained. People finding themselves trapped on the island should never attempt to make their way back across the causeway.'

Traditionally the summer period is a busy time for rescues at Sully Island, preparing with partner agencies like this helps us practice for the worst case scenarios - that of multiple casualties in the water. At the same time the exercise helps raise awareness of the very strong mid-tide currents that flood the causway twice each day.

For further information please contact Andy Berry, Penarth RNLI Lifeboat Press Officer, on 07951 051128

RNLI/Andy Berry

RNLI/Andy Berry

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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 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.

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