While on shift Chiswick RNLI Helmsman prevents high jinx becoming high drama

Lifeboats News Release

Mark Turrell was on shift on Saturday evening 25 May when he saw a group of teenagers gathering around the iron steps on the embankment just east of Chiswick Pier.

Steps by Chiswick Pier at low tide

RNLI/David Clarke

Steps by Chiswick Pier at low tide

Mark said ‘As I watched, a lad in just sports shorts emerged up the steps soaking wet and had obviously jumped into the river from the top of the steps. He was gesticulating to his mates that he was going to jump in again so I donned my life-jacket and took my crash helmet, in case we got a service call, and went down to the group. I spoke to the whole group explaining the dangers of what they were undertaking and the amount of young people I have dealt with over my time on the Thames lifeboats that had not been lucky enough to resurface after such high jinx. To my surprise, the whole group were very engaging and apologetic and after a few minutes of listening to me the one that appeared to be the leader shook my hand and the whole group thanked me for my time and went on their way.’

Last year Chiswick RNLI crews recovered a man who was critically injured when he jumped into the river in Putney, not realising that the water was only a couple of feet deep.

RNLI Community Safety Officer John Soones added ‘The summer period with the end of exams coming up is often a time when teenagers let off steam and are tempted to go in the river, not knowing the dangers. This example shows what authority RNLI lifeboat crew members can have in what one might expect to be an awkward encounter.’

Chiswick RNLI lifeboat station is the second busiest in the UK and Ireland. Since The RNLI search and rescue service on the Thames started in 2002, Chiswick Lifeboat has attended over 3,500 incidents and rescued over 1,750 people, and dozens of dogs. The RNLI is entirely funded by public donations.

RNLI media contacts

  • David Clarke RNLI Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer (Chiswick), 07951 210500 David_Clarke@rnli.org.uk
  • Paul Dunt, RNLI Press Officer (London/East/South East) on 0207 6207416, 07786 668825, paul_dunt@rnli.org.uk
  • For enquiries outside normal business hours, contact the RNLI duty press officer on 01202 336789

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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 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.

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