St Mary’s RNLI lifeboat crew responds to calls three times in one week

Lifeboats News Release

St Mary’s RNLI volunteer lifeboat crew responded to a number of calls over the first week of the Easter Holidays after a quiet period of seven months with no call outs.

On Sunday 6 April the volunteer crew responded after HM Coastguard’s satellite system detected a signal from a emergency distress beacon 15 nautical miles North of Round Island on the Isles of Scilly.

On arrival at the last recorded transmission point of the beacon, using direction finding equipment, the St Mary’s RNLI All Weather Lifeboat The Whiteheads was tasked with running a search pattern to locate the cause of the emergency signal. Also tasked to search was the HM Coast Guard Helicopter R924 and a fishing vessel that had responded. However after no more transmissions were received the St Mary’s RNLI crew were stood down. Shortly afterwards the HM Coastguard helicopter detected a strong signal to the East and recovered an active emergency distress beacon near the Sevenstones Lightship that had been lost from a vessel a few days earlier. The two signals are not thought to be linked.

This was the first launch for the St Mary’s RNLI volunteer crew of 2019, the first launch for Pete Hicks as a full time coxswain and the first launch for volunteer Russel Hutchins since joining the crew.

On the 9 April the RNLI crew were requested to launch in the afternoon to assist with a search for a missing person on St Martin’s, however the individual was found safe and well shortly afterwards and the launch was cancelled.

On the 11 April the RNLI crew once again responded to a request to launch from HM Coastguard to assist a 10m yacht manned by two people that was making no progress to the North East of the Isles of Scilly. After assessing the situation the lifeboat crew decided to tow the vessel to St Mary’s. They placed 2 crew members on board the yacht to assist the sailors to drop the main sail which had become stuck and connect the tow. The yacht was then towed back to the safety of St Mary’s Harbour arriving at 10 past eight that evening.

After the crew had returned that evening they were able to assist with a HM coastguard helicopter training exercise around the south of St Mary’s.

Coxswain for St Mary’s Pete Hicks said: ‘It has been a busy week for St Mary’s volunteer crew and we are pleased that we have been able to assist in a number of shouts this week. At this time of the year the weather can change quickly and we would remind people to check the weather and tides and check all of your equipment before setting off’

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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