Volunteer crew members were assembling for their weekly training night when they received a request to launch the all-weather lifeboat.
On Wednesday 2 October Dover Coastguard made the request to launch the Irene Muriel Rees
at 6.25pm after receiving a call from a 18m motor barge which had lost power and was drifting with the tide. With many of the crew already on station it did not take long for the lifeboat to get under way.
The initial report had given a position 10miles south-west of the lifeboat station but the Coastguard had been unable to make further contact with the two people on board as they had only mobile phone communication and were now thought to be out of signal range.
With the light fading and the casualty thought to be in the vicinity of several sand banks the lifeboat crew made use of the on-board RADAR equipment to locate the drifting barge as quickly as possible.
Upon arriving on scene the lifeboat crew transferred one crew member to the casualty vessel and a tow into the closest port of Brightlingsea was established.
Once under way the situation became more urgent when it was found that one of the two people on the barge had been injured and was in severe pain. The lifeboat crew were able to use their casualty care skills to assist the gentleman and make him more comfortable for the journey and the lifeboat made best speed to harbour with the barge in tow.
Once in Brightlingsea the lifeboat was met by a Coastguard Rescue Team who assisted the crew of the barge in seeking further treatment ashore, thereby freeing the lifeboat crew to continue back to their berth. The lifeboat was refuelled and ready for service just before 11pm.
Speaking afterwards volunteer Crew Member Miranda Rayner said: 'Our training nights are very important and can be intense but at the end of the day there is really no substitute for the real thing. The crew have to be ready for anything at any time and this was a good example of a seemingly routine job turning into something a bit more involved.
'We also urge those going afloat to make sure they have the most appropriate means of calling for help in an emergency, the RNLI has a useful guide which can be found in the Safety section of the RNLI website.'
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 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
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