St Bees RNLI responds to a Mayday call.

Lifeboats News Release

St Bees RNLI volunteers responded to a Mayday call on Tuesday 12 June after opening their lifeboat station to aid Cumbria Fire and Rescue. The Cumbria fire service had been called to a wild fire that had started on St Bees South Head.

St Bees RNLI lifeboat returning to the station with the fire on St Bees Head still burning in the background.

RNLI/Colin Wadey

St Bees lifeboat returing to station

The RNLI volunteer crew had only just returned home after their regular Tuesday evening training exercise when a number of fire engines, including the Wild Fire unit, made their way to St Bees beach with blue lights flashing. Some of the lifeboat crew who live close by decided to open up the lifeboat station to provide a base for the fire crews. As they were opening the lifeboat station a Mayday call was heard over the station radio. This was quickly followed by the RNLI crew pagers sounding to launch the ILB (Inshore Lifeboat). Many of the crew were already at the station so the lifeboat was quickly launched.

Belfast UK Coastguard informed the lifeboat crew that a small vessel with three people onboard was taking on water about a quarter of a mile south of Whitehaven Harbour. The stricken vessel was quickly located, and the lifeboat came alongside. The salvage pump was immediately deployed and a tow was established. The small boat was safely brought into Whitehaven Harbour. Once inside the harbour members of Whitehaven Coastguard met them.

With the fire still burning on the headland Workington’s ALB (All Weather Lifeboat) had launched to assist the fire service in spotting the many individual fires that were burning on the cliff face.

St Bees Lifeboat Operations Manager Dick Beddows said ‘This was a long night for our volunteers with both incidents coming right after a training exercise. Our crew responded very quickly to the Mayday, and the shore crew were pleased to be able to provide hot drinks and biscuits to our colleagues at Cumbria Fire and Rescue.

For more information please telephone Colin Wadey, St Bees RNLI Volunteer Press Officer on 07742207222 email colin_wadey@rnli.org.uk

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 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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