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Clacton RNLI volunteers respond to sightings of distress flares

Lifeboats News Release

Clacton RNLI volunteers abandon Casualty Care course to respond to distress flares spotted near Brightlingsea.

Clacton’s Atlantic 85 being recovered up slipway, ready to be washed and prepared for the next launch

RNLI/Richard Wigley

Clacton’s Atlantic 85 being recovered

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.

RNLI media contacts

• Richard Wigley, Lifeboat Press Officer, Clacton RNLI: 07903 424698
• Clare Hopps, RNLI Regional Media Officer, North East and East: 07824 518641

For enquiries outside normal business hours, contact the RNLI duty press officer on 01202 336789

D class being launched to assist in search

RNLI/Richard Wigley

D class being launched to assist in search

Key facts about the RNLI

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, Carrybridge 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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The RNLI is a charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SC037736). Charity number 20003326 in the Republic of Ireland