Ilfracombe volunteer crew launch in driving snow to paddle boarder in difficulty
Ilfracombe RNLI launched their all weather lifeboat, The Barry and Peggy High Foundation on Saturday 17 March at 11.22am.
Andrew Bengey Coxswain at Ilfracombe RNLI was in command of the boat.
He said: 'The call was to a paddle boarder that was seen to be lying on his board in the Combe Martin area and may be in difficulties. With very challenging conditions, wind at gale force and a 3 - 4 metre sea our shore crew launched us safely at low water on a spring tide.
'This is when the station's launch and recovery system comes into its own by keeping us stable and safe with breaking seas around us at the launch site giving me time to pick my moment to release the boat from its cradle.
'We located the casualty shortly after launching, he was safe and well and very well equipped but he was unsure if anybody else was out as he was around two miles from the position given. With that in mind we continued to Combe Martin bay and conducted a shoreline search in driving snow, large seas and freezing conditions.
'With nothing found we returned to station where our shore crew were waiting for us, again conditions were not good but they did an amazing job of recovering us from the water quickly and safely, this is when you realise that the hours of training the whole station does is for that moment when conditions are poor like today.'
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.