Warm weather prompts four callouts for Southend’s RNLI volunteers

Lifeboats News Release

The volunteer crews at Southend-on-Sea RNLI lifeboat station were tasked a total of four times on Tuesday 30 March 2021, to assist nine people in difficulty. The crews were first tasked at 2.12pm, which turned into multiple callouts that continued well into the night.

Stock photo of two of Southend RNLI's lifeboats.

RNLI/Paul Dunt

Stock photo of two of Southend RNLI's lifeboats.

At 2.12pm on Tuesday 30 March, the crews at Southend lifeboat station were paged by HM Coastguard to assist a vessel that had lost power, approximately ¾ mile offshore from Thorpe Bay.

The inshore lifeboat was launched to assist the vessel which had two persons on board. Once on scene, the crew learnt that the vessel’s mooring was only 200m away from where it was positioned. The volunteer crew took the vessel under tow to its mooring, where they provided safety advice to the casualties and once satisfied there was no more risk to life or navigation, the crew were stood down from the scene.

Soon after recovering the lifeboat back to the station, the crews were then tasked again to assist a jet ski in difficulty, 200m off of the coast in Leigh-on-Sea. The volunteer crews arrived at the scene, where they found the jet ski and the two persons safe and well on the shore. The crews updated the coastguard of the situation and were stood down from this tasking, but were immediately re-tasked to another request for assistance at Barge Pier in Shoebury.

The volunteer crews raced to the scene, and upon arrival found one person that had been in the water for nearly an hour. The casualty was very cold and was suffering from hyperthermia, so casualty care was administered until the ambulance arrived on scene. Once the care of the casualty had been passed to the ambulance crew, the crew were stood down from the scene by the Coastguard.

Later that evening, the crews were paged at 8.11pm to reports of four paddleboarders in distress within Hadleigh Ray. The paddleboarders had been taken in by a vessel in the vicinity to keep warm and shelter them from the weather. Once on scene, the Southend RNLI hovercraft took the four casulaties on board and took them to shore, where the care of the persons were passed to the waiting Coastguard Rescue Teams.

Over the course of nine hours, the crews were tasked a total of four times, assisting a total of nine persons.

Southend RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager Graham Slack said although the weather has been warming up recently sea temperatures remained very cold:

‘Although Spring is in the air, anyone heading to the seafront should be aware that the water conditions remain more like winter and as our crews witnessed, hyperthermia is still a real risk’.

‘We would encourage anyone visiting the coast to make sure they are fully aware of the weather conditions, including tide times, bring suitable clothing for cold weather and a means of communication if they need help’.


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.

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