All 3 Falmouth lifeboats launched to shouts for help from within the harbour

Lifeboats News Release

Two lives were saved late on Thursday evening, when the Falmouth RNLI volunteer crews were paged in response to a member of the public’s concern that they could hear calls for help from the harbour waters.

Marine Traffic tracking of the inshore lifeboat around the harbour

Marine Traffic app

Marine Traffic tracking of the inshore lifeboat around the harbour

The inshore lifeboat was requested to launch at 9.27pm on Thursday 21 March, with Helm Neil Capper, Tom Telford and Tamara Brookes aboard. Heading to the Prince of Wales pier, where the shouts were heard from, the crew began to search for the individual.

They soon heard shouting and found one individual holding onto a mooring. He appeared hypothermic and tired from being in the water for what may have been some time, however managed to tell the crew that him and another friend’s tender had capsized, despite the calm conditions, meaning there was someone else in the water too. At this, the all-weather lifeboat and boarding boat were tasked to launch to assist in searching for the other man. The first person was taken to the Prince of Wales pier and passed into the care of the waiting Falmouth Coastguard Rescue Team and ambulance teams.

The inshore lifeboat then returned to search further. The second person was found clinging to a small part of the upturned dinghy, and was recovered and, again appearing hypothermic, was taken to the pier and passed to the teams waiting there. The inshore lifeboat then recovered the dinghy, the all-weather boat was stood down and the three boats returned to the lifeboat station to be refuelled and made ready for service.

Notes to editors:

  • It was unclear for how long the individuals had been the water, and without lifejackets, time was of the essence. As in this situation, if you hear shouting or think someone might be in trouble in the water, calling 999 and asking for the Coastguard was the correct response.

  • When heading out onto the water, at any time, you need to be able to call for help. Having the appropriate means to tell the coastguard exactly where you are is the quickest way to save your life. Whether it is a VHF radio, a personal locator beacon, a tracker or a mobile phone, always carry a suitable means for calling help and keep it attached to your person and within reach.

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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Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or by email.