RNLI Hoylake volunteers respond to three reports of walkers cut off by the tide

Lifeboats News Release

At 11:30am on Wednesday 24 June and again at 11:55am and 2:01pm on Thursday 25 June the UK Coastguard requested Hoylake RNLI hovercraft to launch to reports of a number of people in danger along the Wirral coast.

RNLI Hoylake hovercraft crew follow COVID-19 guidance whilst on duty assisting casualties in danger along the coast

RNLI/Andy Dodd

RNLI Hoylake hovercraft crew follow COVID-19 guidance whilst on duty assisting casualties in danger along the coast
Having been requested to launch by the UK Coastguard on Wednesday morning, Hoylake RNLI’s relief hovercraft ‘John Russell’ and her volunteer crew headed to the casualties’ reported location a quarter of a mile north of Leasowe Lighthouse. The hovercraft crew found the two groups of people, which included three adults and four children, cut off from the shore.

The casualties were brought on board the hovercraft by the Hoylake RNLI crew. One of the children had been in the water and was feeling the effects of the cold, so the hovercraft crew wrapped the child in a blanket before the short flight back to the shore.

The casualties were landed safely at the steps near to Dovepoint slipway in Meols and were passed to Wirral Coastguard Rescue Team officers. Fortunately they required no further assistance and the Hoylake hovercraft was stood down.

It was the hottest day of 2020 so far and the local beaches were very busy. With the tide still flooding, the hovercraft crew spoke to several other groups of people on their return to Hoylake lifeboat station to make sure that everyone using the beach was safe.

The following day the RNLI hovercraft crew were heading back to Leasowe Lighthouse to assist another group of casualties reported to be in the water, when en route they found one person near to Barber’s Folly and advised them how to get ashore safely to avoid being cut off by the incoming tide.

The volunteer crew arrived at the casualties’ reported location where Wirral Coastguard Rescue Team asked them to check on two people in the water near to the lighthouse. Coastguard officers had already waded out to another group to guide them safely in from the water.

Hoylake Hovercraft reached the two people swimming, who were unaware that they would be cut off by the incoming tide in the deep gutters off Leasowe. The casualties were brought on board the hovercraft and taken to the steps between Barber’s Folly and Dovepoint slipway, where they were met by the Coastguard and found to need no further assistance.

Shortly afterwards the UK Coastguard requested Hoylake Hovercraft to launch again after Wirral Coastguard reported a number of people cut off by the incoming tide on Middle Eye in the Dee Estuary. RNLI West Kirby Lifeboat was also tasked. At this time the Hilbre Islands remain closed to the public.

On arrival the hovercraft crew spoke to two people and advised them that they were cut off from the land. The casualties understood and were happy to stay on Middle Eye until the tide went out.

A Hoylake RNLI crew member then walked around the island and spoke to another group of four people, who were also advised that they were cut off and who agreed to stay on the island until it was safe to return to the land. This was reported to the Coastguard and with nobody requiring any further assistance, the hovercraft and lifeboat were stood down and returned to their stations.

Hoylake RNLI volunteer hovercraft commander Matt Schanck said: ‘The warm weather combined with the easing of lockdown means that many people will want to visit our coast, but right now it’s more important than ever that members of the public understands the risks, check local tide times and respect the water.’

‘If you enter the water unexpectedly, float to live: fight your instinct to thrash around, lean back, extend your arms and legs and float. And remember that in a coastal emergency, you should always dial 999 and ask for the Coastguard.’

The RNLI has four inshore rescue hovercrafts in operation across the UK. These are designed to reach areas inaccessible to conventional lifeboats, extending the charity’s lifesaving capability around the coast.

Volunteers of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution are on standby 24 hours a day ready to fulfil their duty in search and rescue operations.

Notes to editors

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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Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or by email.

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