The last five days have seen a significant number of call outs for Harwich RNLI.
Tuesday 18 August saw the launch of the inshore lifeboat and later, the launch of the all-weather lifeboat as part of a multi-agency search, thankfully with a positive outcome.
On Thursday 20 August, an inflated life jacket was found by a local survey vessel near the stream moorings off Shotley. The volunteer lifeboat crew were paged just after 10am to carry out a search.
After thoroughly searching the area, nothing untoward was found and the lifeboat was released to return to station.
At 1.20pm on Friday 21 August, the inshore lifeboat was launched to a person in the water at Felixstowe, thought to be in difficulty having been separated from their board. An update reported that the person was believed to be safely ashore, but requested that the lifeboat perform a search along the beach to be sure, before being stood down.
The wind conditions on Friday were close to the operational limit for the inshore lifeboat, and required careful assessment and consideration by the launch authority at the time of the launch.
A further incident at Felixstowe at 7.30pm lead to the activation of the crew pagers again, but the lifeboat was stood down while the launch was taking place.
Although conditions had eased compared to Friday, the wind strength was still a challenge during Saturday and at 4pm, a vessel required assistance at the river Deben entrance. While the lifeboat was being launched, an update confirmed another vessel had been able to provide assistance, and the lifeboat was stood down.
Within 30 minutes of being stood down, the crew were paged for a further launch to assist three paddle boarders, believed to be in difficulty on the river Stour off Wrabness. On arrival at the scene the individuals were found to have safely made it ashore at Erwarton, on the Suffolk side of the river. No assistance was required but the lifeboat stood by briefly while the individuals resumed their paddle back towards Shotley.
In the third call of Saturday, the inshore lifeboat was requested to launch at just after 8pm to assist a vessel just off Felixstowe. On arrival close to the scene, attempts were made to get close to the vessel to provide assistance, but due to the state of tide, the lifeboat couldn’t get close enough to assist. The lifeboat was stood down and released to return to station, with the vessel due re-float on the incoming tide.
Commenting on the past few days and the forecast weather deterioration in the coming week, Harwich RNLI's Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer, Daniel Sime said: ‘The station has had a busy week with a real mixture of calls, some resulting in being stood down shortly after being called, and some presenting challenging conditions for the crew.
‘Conditions on Friday right across the country were not good for being on the water, and Saturday hadn’t seen a full return of calm conditions. The week ahead is looking as though we might see further strong winds, so we would urge everybody to please keep an eye on the forecast, stay safe and consider staying away from the water. If you see somebody that you think might be in difficulty in the water, please dial 999 and ask for the Coastguard.’
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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 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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