Lee Cowling. Filey RNLI

Lifeboats News Release

Tributes have flooded in to Filey Lifeboat Station following the sudden death of crew member Lee Cowling on Friday evening ( 5th June) aged just 46.

Lee Cowling

RNLI/John Ward

Lee Cowling

There have been over 56,000 views on the station’s Facebook page with hundreds of comments joining the condolences to Lee’s family (Mum Irene, Dad Richard and Brother Richard) and to the crew on their loss. Many comments have come from friends and RNLI colleagues throughout the UK as well as countless posts from complete strangers who want to convey their sympathy.

Lee joined Filey Lifeboat in January 1992 at the age of 18 having been a member of Filey Sea Cadets since he was 12. That training stood him in good stead as he was already an accomplished sailor and boatman. He served on both our all-weather and inshore boats eventually becoming an ILB helm.

Lee was a lifeboat stalwart and it was through his dedication, drive and commitment that our annual raft race was re-kindled in 2015 attracting thousands of visitors each year.

He took part in countless rescues off the Filey coast. One notable service call was in March 2015 when both boats launched in complete darkness to assist in the search for a missing person. The rescue helicopter was forced to abandon the search due to a bird strike and the inshore lifeboat (ILB) was capsized in very confused seas. The crew, one of whom was Lee, managed to right the ILB and carry the casualty to the boat which was recovered by rocket line fired from the all-weather boat. (ALB). The ILB crew then faced having to be hauled 400 feet up cliffs or a long trek across rocks to the safety of the beach at Reighton Gap. They chose to walk but it took them almost two hours to walk half a mile scrambling over rocks and stones, and nearly all their kit was ripped to shreds.

That’s lifeboating and that’s what Lee was keen to do.

"Fair winds and following seas", Lee. Your loss is very hard for us all to take in.

Notes to editors

  • Filey Lifeboat Station was founded in 1804. It currently operates both a Mersey-Class All-Weather Lifeboat and an Inshore Lifeboat. To learn more about the lifeboat station go to Filey Lifeboat Station Facebook page.

Lee Cowling

RNLI/John Ward

Lee Cowling

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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