Looe RNLI volunteer crew launch twice within 6 hours

Lifeboats News Release

A busy period for Looe RNLI volunteers, yesterday, launching the charity’s Atlantic 85 on two shouts. The first call was to assist a broken down bayliner boat and the second shout was to investigate reports of an empty kayak at Portwrinkle

Around 4.15 pm yesterday, Tuesday 26 May 2020, Falmouth coastguard operations centre received a call from a 20’ bayliner, with two persons on board, suffering engine problems by Looe Island. Our RNLI volunteers were paged and the duty crew mustered at the lifeboat station, where they kitted up in their standard PPE and additional covid-19 protection of face masks and gloves. Within ten minutes the charity’s Atlantic 85 Sheila and Dennis Tongue II was launched by tractor driver Paul Crossley assisted by shore crew Eric Candy and guided by head launcher Nick Pope. With Mat Jaycock at the helm and crew Toby Bray, Brian Bowdler and Goron Jones, they proceeded towards Looe island, where they found the casualty bayliner anchored in very shallow water north of Looe Island. Both persons on board were wearing life jackets and seemed fit and well. They recovered their own anchor and then moved to the aft of the vessel while our RNLI crew attached a tow rope from aboard the lifeboat. The bayliner was brought to Looe harbour and moored at an empty berth safe from other vessels. The Atlantic 85 returned to station where she was washed down and refuelled, ready for service.

Later in the evening, following reports of an empty green kayak drifting off Portwrinkle beach, our volunteer RNLI crew were requested to launch by Falmouth coastguard operations centre at 9.39 pm. Following updated RNLI procedures due to the covid-19 situation, our crew kept social distance as they mustered outside the lifeboat station. With a full crew assembled supported by a minimum number of shore crew, the charity’s Atlantic 85 Sheila and Dennis Tongue II was launched within eight minutes. The rest of the crew who attended were stood down to return home. With Clive Palfrey at the helm and crew members Toby Bray, Jack Spree and Tom Peat, the Atlantic 85 made best speed over to Portwrinkle harbour. Together with Looe and Tamar coastguard teams, our volunteer crew conducted a shoreline search for a missing person. With nothing found and more information coming in from the shore about the incident, Looe lifeboat was stood down and returned to station around 11 pm for recovery by volunteer tractor drivers Chris Lewis and Paul Barley. Launching to shouts are more difficult during the coronavirus with RNLI crews having to use additional PPE as well as their normal lifesaving PPE and trying to social distance whilst onboard the lifeboat.

Our crew were stood down before launching on Monday afternoon, 25 May 2020, so these two shouts yesterday were the first launches for Looe RNLI volunteer crews since lockdown. Our Lifeboat Operations Manager Dave Haines commented on how our crew had adapted and adhered to the updated RNLI protocols for hygiene, PPE and social distancing and there was minimal impact on our launch time whilst following these new procedures.


Notes to editors

  • Our volunteer crew were paged at 4.39 pm Monday 25 May 2020, requesting the launch of the charity’s D Class inshore lifeboat Ollie Naismith, following reports of multiple persons caught in a rip current on Tregonhawke beach.
  • Our crew were stood down before launch as the persons were helped safely ashore by off duty lifeguards and local surfers. We would urge anyone planning a visit to the coast to follow RNLI safety advice which can be found at https://rnli.org/pages/beach2020


· Looe RNLI Atlantic 85 Sheila and Dennis Tongue II returning to port
Photo credit RNLI / Eric Candy

· Looe RNLI Atlantic 85 Sheila and Dennis Tongue II heading to East Looe quay
Photo credit RNLI / Eric Candy

· Stock image Looe RNLI Atlantic 85 Sheila and Dennis Tongue II night time recovery
Photo credit RNLI / Ian Foster


· Re-established as an inshore lifeboat station in 1992, Looe RNLI operate two inshore lifeboats
An Atlantic 85 Sheila and Dennis Tongue II and a D Class Ollie Naismith

· For further information on Looe RNLI Lifeboats please visit our website www.looelifeboats.co.uk

· Looe RNLI Facebook page www.facebook.com/LooeRNLI

RNLI media contacts

For more information please telephone Ian Foster, RNLI Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer for Looe Lifeboat Station, on 07902 753228 or looelpo@ianfoster.com or ian_foster@rnli.org.uk

or Amy Caldwell, RNLI Regional Media Manager, on 07920 818807 or amy_caldwell@rnli.org.uk

or Marianne Quinn, RNLI Regional Media Officer, on 07786 668847 or marianne_quinn@rnli.org.uk

Alternatively you can contact the RNLI Duty Press Officer on 01202 336789

RNLI/ Eric Candy

Looe RNLI Atlantic 85 Sheila and Dennis Tongue II returning to por

RNLI/Eric Candy

Looe RNLI Atlantic 85 Sheila and Dennis Tongue II heading to East Looe quay

RNLI/Ian Foster

Stock image Looe RNLI Atlantic 85 Sheila and Dennis Tongue II night time recovery

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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For more information please visit the RNLI website or Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. News releases, videos and photos are available on the News Centre.

Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

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