Rescued Fisherman returns hails RNLI volunteers ‘number one’ lifesavers
The fisherman rescued by Penarth & Barry Dock RNLI on 12 June returned to the Penarth RNLI Lifeboat Station yesterday to thank the volunteer crews that saved him and his friend from the sea when their boat sank.
Andrew Lewis and his friend were heading home after being out on his boat for an evening’s fishing, when the boat started taking on water.
‘We were heading around Sully Island when the sea started to get a bit choppy, so we eased back on the speed. After a few minutes my friend said he heard a crack, I didn’t hear anything, but the next minute there was water coming in the cabin and the engine started struggling.
Andrew called UK Coastguard at Milford Haven to raise a distress call. Milford Haven Coastguard then paged Penarth and Barry Dock RNLI lifeboats.
‘We were bailing the water out of the boat to try and keep the boat afloat until the lifeboat turned up. I think if we hadn’t been bailing the boat out we would have lost the boat before the lifeboat arrived. I’m really grateful to all the volunteers who came out to us – they really are the best.. To see the lifeboats coming over the horizon was fantastic. The RNLI do a fantastic job’.
Jason Dunlop, lifeboat operations manager for Penarth RNLI station said, ‘this was an extremely challenging rescue carried out in difficult seas and in pitch darkness. Our crews train for this type of incident, and have access to the very best RNLI equipment, but this shout was one which will stay with me. Two lives were saved as a result of the bravery and selfless actions of our volunteer crew members. Andrew and his friend were very lucky that we could get to them as quickly as we did, together with the additional resources that attended the incident. They also had several means of communication with them, together with lifejackets and flares, and they knew the local hazards and who to call for help.’
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.