Clacton RNLI volunteers respond to sightings of distress flares
Clacton RNLI volunteers abandon Casualty Care course to respond to distress flares spotted near Brightlingsea.
At 3.30pm 5 February while 12 volunteers of Clacton RNLI were undertaking the first day of an intense in-depth casualty care course, they were requested to launch the station’s Atlantic class lifeboat David Porter MPS by U.K. Coastguard, after two red distress flares had been spotted near Brightlingsea.
On reaching Brightlingsea Harbour the crew were able to speak directly to the harbour master and gain further information. The crew proceeded to search the North side of Brightlingsea Creak while requesting Clacton RNLI’s D Class Damarkand IV be launched to search the south side of the creak, as it was too shallow for the Atlantic class lifeboat, especially on a falling tide.
Both lifeboats were able to complete a detailed search of the creak, but nothing untoward was found. On completion of the search they were stood down and released to return to station by U.K. Coastguard.
Further volunteers were awaiting their return, and were able to have both lifeboats ready for service again by 5.45pm. The crew members did not have such an early finish as they then had to return to the casualty care course they were on when the launch request came through.
Danny Thatcher, Helmsman aboard the Atlantic class lifeboat said; ‘It’s not often we are on station when a call comes in, but as myself and 11 fellow volunteers were on station undergoing an intense three days of training to ensure we have the skills to look after injured and ill casualties at sea, we were able to make a rapid launch.’
As well as specialist training courses like that for casualty care, the volunteers of Clacton RNLI train twice a week to develop and hone the skills needed to save lives at sea safely. This level of training costs on average £1,600 a year for each crew member, which would not be possible without the excellent support we receive from our community.
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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.