Clacton RNLI volunteers abandon charity quiz night to rescue bodyboarder

Lifeboats News Release

On Saturday 14 July, just after 9.30pm, the pagers of Clacton RNLI’s volunteers sounded during a charity quiz night in aid of Clacton RNLI, as someone had been spotted clinging to a bodyboard.

Damarkand IV with wind farm in background

RNLI/Richard Wigley

Stock photo of Damarkand IV

Clacton RNLI’s D Class lifeboat Damarkand IV was launched with three volunteer crew members at the request of the UK Coastguard, two of whom had been at the quiz night. They were tasked to a bodyboarder who was struggling to pull themselves out of the water and onto their board just west of Clacton Pier.

On arrival, the person was pulled aboard the lifeboat, where a quick welfare assessment was made. As the bodyboarder reported they had swallowed a lot of water, it was decided to take the casualty back to the lifeboat station where they could be assessed by paramedics for any side effects.

After a detailed assessment that showed no side effects from the intake of sea water, the bodyboarder was passed into the care of their family.

The six members of the Yellow Wellies quiz team then returned to the quiz night at the Albert Edward Hall with a good excuse for their score, while the remaining crew members made sure everything was ready for the lifeboat’s next launch.

Crew member Steve Oakes who was also a member of the Yellow Wellies team said; ‘It’s not often we get a call during a fundraising event, but I think it helped highlight to those in attendance how important their support is in saving lives at sea, as I feel it was another life saved tonight, which would not have been possible without their support.’

David Wells, Lifeboat Operations Manager at Clacton RNLI; ‘We had a good outcome tonight from an all too common incident that could so easily have had a less positive outcome. I would like to stress the importance of wearing a lifejacket or buoyancy aid when out on the water, they will not only keep you afloat, but just as importantly reduce the risk of panic, reducing the risk of drowning.

‘Currently the RNLI is running a campaign called ‘FLOAT TO LIVE’, which is aiming to reduce drownings by making people aware that if they fall in the water, to try to resist your initial instinct to thrash around; just lean back, extend your arms and legs and float until your breathing is under control, only then try and call for help or swim to safety. More details can be found at’

RNLI media contacts

  • Richard Wigley, Lifeboat Press Officer, Clacton RNLI: 07903 424698
  • Clare Hopps, RNLI Regional Media Officer, North East and East: 07824 518641
For enquiries outside normal business hours, contact the RNLI duty press officer on 01202 336789

RNLI/Richard Wigley

Float to live campaign poster

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.

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