Easter Sunday plans were put on hold for Hoylake RNLI’s volunteer crew as they were paged to two different incidents in the River Dee and the River Mersey.
Hoylake RNLI hovercraft was first requested to launch by the UK Coastguard at 10.38am on Sunday 4 April to reports of a small fishing boat aground in the River Dee off Bagillt in North Wales. A person had been spotted waist-deep in water nearby.
Flint Coastguard Rescue Team officers were on scene and had located the boat from the shore, but there was no sign of anyone in the water. After searching the shoreline, the person was spotted navigating the sandbanks and mudflats of the Dee Estuary apparently heading towards Neston on the Wirral.
With the tide approaching low water, Hoylake’s Inshore Rescue Hovercraft
Hurley Spirit crossed the estuary and headed to the casualty’s location. He was now making his way back towards the Welsh coast.
The hovercraft met the casualty and the RNLI crew spoke to him to check he was okay. The casualty had run aground unintentionally and was happy to remain with his vessel until it re-floated on the next tide. Satisfied that the casualty required no further assistance, the hovercraft was stood down and returned to station.
Hoylake RNLI volunteer hovercraft commander Howie Owen said: ‘If you’re heading out on the water and get into any difficulty, always call the Coastguard on 999 or VHF Channel 16. By letting them know your situation, they can decide if any emergency services should be tasked and manage any further calls of concern.’
‘Always check the weather and tide times for your location. Ensure you and all on board are wearing a properly-fitted lifejacket and that you are carrying appropriate safety equipment. Check that all machinery is in good working order and carry a means of calling for help.’
Hoylake RNLI hovercraft was later requested to launch by the Coastguard at 3.15pm to assist with a police incident in the Runcorn area of the River Mersey. The hovercraft and her volunteer crew launched again and headed to the scene.
While en route, it was also reported that a person was stuck in the mud at New Ferry. With the weather becoming increasingly challenging for the hovercraft to proceed, it was agreed that the hovercraft could be stood down and the incidents were safely resolved by other emergency services in attendance.
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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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