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Aircraft calls in potential life raft at sea

Lifeboats News Release

Last night the St Helier inshore lifeboat was paged at 5.46pm after reports from an aircraft of what looked like a life raft in the water around a mile north-west of Jersey.

St Helier inshore lifeboat preparing to launch

RNLI/Julie Rainey

St Helier inshore lifeboat preparing to launch

The boat launched at 5:58pm on 7 March with a collaborative crew of three RNLI volunteers and a Jersey firefighter. While the crew was heading for the last known position of the suspected raft, a passing military boat was able to confirm that what the aircraft had seen was the brightly-coloured roof of a fishing boat’s wheelhouse. The crew returned to St Helier and the boat was back at the station and ready for service once more by 6.28pm.

Nigel Sweeney, RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager for Jersey, said, 'This was a call with good intent and even though no lives were at risk on this occasion, we’d always rather be safe than sorry. Although the weather has improved this week, sea temperatures around the island are still very low. I’m pleased the crew made such good time on the shout and the boat was back, ready to save lives at sea once again, in under an hour.'

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The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is the charity that saves lives at sea. Our volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service in the United Kingdom and Ireland from 238 lifeboat stations, including four along the River Thames and inland lifeboat stations at Loch Ness, Lough Derg, Enniskillen and Lough Ree. Additionally the RNLI has more than 1,000 lifeguards on over 240 beaches around the UK and operates a specialist flood rescue team, which can respond anywhere across the UK and Ireland when inland flooding puts lives at risk.

The RNLI relies on public donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. As a charity it is separate from, but works alongside, government-controlled and funded coastguard services. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824 our lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved at least 140,000 lives. Volunteers make up 95% of the charity, including 4,600 volunteer lifeboat crew members and 3,000 volunteer shore crew. Additionally, tens of thousands of other dedicated volunteers raise funds and awareness, give safety advice, and help in our museums, shops and offices.

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