Two launches in 24 hours for Ilfracombe RNLI

Lifeboats News Release

The volunteer crew from Ilfracombe RNLI launched on Saturday 9 November and again on Sunday 10 November.

Ilfracombe all-weather lifeboat at sea

RNLI/Neil Perrin

Ilfracombe RNLI All Weather Lifeboat - The Barry and Peggy High Foundation

The first launch was on Saturday 9 November. The volunteer crew launched the Ilfracombe RNLI Shannon class all-weather lifeboat The Barry and Peggy High Foundation following reports of a paddle boarder in difficulties one mile east of Porlock.

The Minehead RNLI Atlantic class lifeboat was tasked by Coastguard to assist the paddle boarder and the Ilfracombe lifeboat was also launched at the request of Minehead RNLI station. The Ilfracombe lifeboat was launched at 4.10 pm. and made best speed towards Porlock in rough sea conditions with force 6 to 7 near gale force northerly winds and a strong 3 metre swell. The lifeboat had reached Foreland Point when communication was received from the Coastguard that a nearby survey vessel had come to the assistance of the paddle boarder and was alongside the man. A few moments later at 4.35 pm. the volunteer crew were stood down when the paddle boarder was taken safely aboard the survey vessel.

The lifeboat then turned around to return to the lifeboat station, however conditions had worsened and the winds increased to gale force 8 with 40 to 45 mph winds and a 4 metre swell. The lifeboat arrived back in Ilfracombe harbour at 6.00pm. RNLI Volunteer Coxswain Andrew Bengey says: ‘earlier in the day conditions were calmer but increased strongly as forecast in the afternoon. The paddle boarder was not in immediate danger but conditions were getting worse. We would ask people to check weather forecasts before heading out on the water and always wear a lifejacket and carry a means of calling for help.’

The second launch was on Sunday 10 November following reports of a kayaker out of his boat and in the swell being washed onto rocks near Rockham Bay, Morthoe. A member of the public saw the man in difficulties, and alerted the Coastguard who tasked Ilfracombe RNLI to assist. The volunteer crew launched the Ilfracombe RNLI all-weather lifeboat just after 3.50pm. and made good speed to Rockham Bay.

Arriving on scene the crew found two kayakers, one male and one female, both in their kayaks. The crew assisted both kayakers onto the lifeboat where the crew assessed their condition. The male kayaker had suffered minor injuries when he came out of his kayak and had been washed onto the rocks. The man had re-entered the water to get back into his kayak but in doing so he had lost his paddle. He had then taken the woman’s paddle in order to attempt to paddle his own kayak and tow the other. Once the casualties and their kayaks were safely on-board the lifeboat then made its way back to Ilfracombe harbour arriving at 5.45pm. The two kayakers were taken to the lifeboat station where they were warmed up before being taken back to their vehicle.

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 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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