RNLI Ilfracombe launch to three people stranded by rising tide
The volunteer crew launched both Ilfracombe lifeboats on Sunday 7 June at 5.43p.m. following a call to the Coastguard from people cut off by tide at Sillery Sands, near Lynmouth.
The Coastguard was alerted by one of the individuals who raised the alarm using their mobile phone and RNLI Ilfracombe were tasked to assist. The lifeboats quickly launched and headed out from the harbour in moderate conditions with a west north west force 3-4 (10-15 mph) wind and a one and half metre swell.
The lifeboats arrived on scene around 40 minutes later and the D class inshore lifeboat (ILB) the Deborah Brown II immediately went alongside the rocks to confirm the number of people stranded and check their condition, whilst the Ilfracombe RNLI Shannon class relief all-weather lifeboat (ALB) Cosandra stood offshore in readiness.
The ILB Helm, Ben Bengey quickly ascertained that there were three people stranded on the rocks, approximately 3 metres above the sea level, at the foot of the cliff, but no-one was injured. Crew member Nick Waites was then sent ashore with life jackets for the casualties who were then transferred by the ILB individually to the all-weather lifeboat ensuring that social distancing could be maintained. Once all three casualties were safely aboard the ALB they were taken to Lynmouth harbour where they were met by the Lynmouth Coastguard at around 7.10p.m.
Both boats then returned to Ilfracombe harbour at a reduced speed due to the wind direction and sea conditions, arriving at 8.20p.m where the lifeboats were recovered and made ready for the next service.
RNLI Volunteer Coxswain, Carl Perrin says: ‘'this week we are experiencing some of the highest spring tides of the year and the high tide today was just over 9 metres. The tide can come in very quickly and catch people out. Fortunately, today no one was hurt, however we would urge people to check the tide timetables before walking along the shoreline. The people stranded today had a mobile phone and were able to call for assistance, and we would always recommend that people carry a means of calling for help and if they get into difficulties dial 999 and ask for the Coastguard.'
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.