Five call outs in 72 hours for the volunteer crew at Plymouth Lifeboat Station

Lifeboats News Release

It's been a busy February weekend for the volunteers at Plymouth RNLI.

The first incident was at 4.09pm on Friday 16 February when Falmouth Coastguard requested assistance from the crew of the inshore lifeboat to tow an eight metre fishing vessel with one person on board, experiencing engine trouble. The casualty was a quarter of a mile south of the breakwater. Once on scene a tow was established and the vessel and crew member was taken to Sutton Harbour.

At 7.48pm that evening pagers sounded for the second time as Plymouth RNLI was tasked to launch the inshore lifeboat after a member of the public and local fishermen reported seeing a red flare north of the Tamar Bridge. After an extensive search of the area it was believed to be Chinese lanterns that had been released. The volunteer crew were stood down

Coxswain David Milford said: ‘Please consider restricting the use of Chinese lanterns near the water as we treat every call-out as a cause to save lives. Chinese lanterns can often lead to false alarms for lifeboat crew and other search and rescue agencies. If you are planning on releasing these lanterns near the coast we'd ask that you let the Coastguard know when and where.'

The third shout was at 2.10pm on Saturday 17 February. Falmouth Coastguard requested the crew of the all-weather lifeboat to track a disruption on channel 16. The crew on the lifeboat spoke to several fishing, diving and recreational vessels asking them to check their equipment. Falmouth Coastguard reported that channel 16 was clear and the lifeboat was stood down.

Volunteer crew awoke to the pagers sounding again at 2.41am on Sunday morning 18 February. Devon and Cornwall Police requested the assistance of the inshore lifeboat but the situation was bought under control and the lifeboat was stood down.

Later that morning, came the fifth shout in 72 hours. At 10.39am Falmouth Coastguard sent a launch request for both the all-weather lifeboat and inshore lifeboat to assist Devon and Cornwall Police at an incident on the Tamar River. Both lifeboats and volunteer crew were stood down before they got on scene.

Dave added: 'In all we’ve been launched on service seven times in the last week making this an unseasonable flurry of calls for February. The launches have been to a mixture of incident types.'

Notes to editors

  • Plymouth RNLI lifeboat has been operating since 1862. To learn more about the lifeboat station go to

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