Port Isaac RNLI called to service on day restrictions on exercise are lifted

Lifeboats News Release

At 16:22 on Wednesday 13th May Port Isaac RNLI were tasked to reports of two men in a small inflatable boat who appeared to be having difficulty in returning to shore.

RNLI/Faye Archell

Port Isaac Lifeboat D-843 responding to shout

This came on the day that government restrictions on exercise, due to Covid 19 had been relaxed to include being able to drive to a destination for exercise and to resume water based activities.

A member of the public spotted the duo in the 2.8 metre Avon RIB off the coast of Port Gaverne and became increasingly concerned for their safety. One eyewitness stated that she was worried about them going out in such a small boat but it was after about half an hour that she became more worried. She said “it looked as though they were trying to get back into shore but couldn’t. The sea was terrible.” A 999 call was made to the coastguard and the RNLI lifeboat D-843 Pride of Port Isaac (Goeth Porthusek) was launched.

Three volunteer crew responded in a choppy 2 metre swell and a NNE wind of 15mph. The boat was on scene within minutes where thankfully the two men had managed to recover their boat.

Matthew Main, Volunteer Helm for Port Isaac RNLI Lifeboat, said: ‘unfortunately the men were completely unprepared for their trip. They were not wearing life jackets or clothing appropriate to the conditions. They had no basic safety equipment and the engine was brand new so they had no experience of using it before. There were also signs clearly displayed stating the beach was still closed to boats launching. They realised straight away that they had made a mistake in going out and were polite, apologetic and embarrassed.We gave them some safety advice and they returned home. The men were from Cornwall but not the local area and had travelled to the area by car.’

The shout comes just two days after the RNLI issued a statement urging members of the public to take extra care following changes to Government guidance. The guidance states ‘although our volunteer lifeboat crews are fully operational, should they be needed, it is important that anyone visiting the coast understands the risk and takes the necessary steps to keep themselves safe. This will also help to reduce the demands placed on our lifeboat crews and other emergency services including HM Coastguard. In this way we can all work together to succeed in ensuring the coast is a safe place to visit.

We would urge anyone planning a visit to the coast to follow RNLI safety advice:

§ Take care near cliffs - know your route and your limitations

§ Have a plan - check the weather forecast and tide times

§ If you fall into the water unexpectedly, FLOAT TO LIVE. Fight your instinct to thrash around, lean back, extend your arms and legs, and Float

§ If boating, ensure your equipment is functioning and maintained

§ In any coastal emergency dial 999 or 112 and ask for the Coastguard.’


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For more information contact volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer Faye Archell on fayearchell@googlemail.com or on 07919 551328 or Marianne Quinn, RNLI Regional Media Officer on 07786 668847 or emma_haines@rnli.org.uk or the RNLI Press Office on 01202 336789.

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RNLI/Faye Archell

Boat that members of the public feared was in distress

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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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