RNLI Hoylake Hovercraft assists two persons stranded in the dark off Wirral

Lifeboats News Release

Shortly after midnight on 21 August, the RNLI Hoylake Hovercraft was tasked by the UK Coastguard to two casualties who were stranded in a small inflatable dinghy in the Dee Estuary.

Hoylake’s Hovercraft H-005 Hurley Spirit was launched at 00:13am and arrived on scene, approximately 150m offshore from Sally’s Cottage, shortly afterwards. The two people had been making their way to Heswall small boat moorings earlier in the day when the dinghy’s propeller became entangled in a rope. As the tide lowered, the casualties found themselves stranded in shallow water in the dark surrounded by muddy embankments.

The Wirral Coastguard Rescue Team were on scene on the shore and were able to use their vehicle lights as markers to guide the hovercraft crew to the stranded dinghy. The volunteer crew recovered the two casualties and their dinghy on to the hovercraft safely. They were then landed close to Sally’s Cottage, where the Coastguard were waiting to meet them. Neither casualty required medical attention and the dinghy was landed nearby at Dee Sailing Club.

Hovercraft Commander, James Whiteley, said: ‘The channels in this part of the Dee can be very difficult to navigate, especially at night. This was a great example of teamwork between the RNLI and the UK Coastguard, who were able to direct us straight to the casualties and together we ensured a happy and safe outcome.’

RNLI Hoylake lifeboat station operates one of only four RNLI inshore rescue hovercrafts working to save lives across the UK in areas which are inaccessible to conventional lifeboats.

Volunteers of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution are on standby 24 hours a day ready to fulfil their duty in search and rescue operations.

RNLI media contacts

For more information please telephone Victoria Phipps, RNLI Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer on 07709 391 253 or email vicki_phipps@rnli.org.uk.

Jon Keighren, RNLI Regional Press Officer on 07776 009 999 or email Jon_Keighren@rnli.org.ukor contact RNLI Public Relations on 01202 336789.

RNLI logo



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.