Port St Mary RNLI paged to assist open water swimmer in difficulty
At 6.18pm yesterday evening (Saturday 24 April), Port St Mary RNLI launched both its inshore and all-weather lifeboats for the second time in less than a week.
The volunteer crew were paged by Belfast Coastguard after they received a radio distress call from a solo open water swimmer, who had found themselves in difficulty in Castletown Bay.
The all-weather Trent class lifeboat Gough Ritchie 2 under the command of Michael Keggen, and D- Class inshore lifeboat Spirit of Leicester under the helm of Mark Whiteley, launched in slight seas and fair conditions and headed to the casualty.
In the meantime, a vessel which was moored in Castletown Bay and had heard the distress call lifted their anchor and set off in search of the casualty. Shortly after they located the swimmer and took them aboard.
Both of Port St Mary’s lifeboats proceeded to the location of the vessel, where the swimmer was transferred onto the inshore lifeboat Spirit of Leicester. They assessed the casualty and found them to be safe and well, before returning to Castletown Harbour and handing the person over to the Isle of Man Coastguard.
After reporting to Belfast Coastguard that the casualty was safely back ashore, both lifeboats were stood down. The volunteer crew returned to station and were ready for service again by 7.25pm.
Following the call-out coxswain Michael Keggen said: ‘I wish to thank the nearby vessel for their quick thinking and response, which ultimately helped to save the casualty’s life.’
Lifeboat Operations Manager Sarah Keggen went on to say: ‘We’re pleased that the casualty was recovered safe and well, and wish to praise them for being equipped with a hand-held VHS radio which enabled them to call for help when they realised they were in difficulty. It’s vital when partaking in activities around the sea that you carry a means of communication and always let someone ashore know when and where you are going and when you are expected back. Should you get into difficulty call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coastguard.’
David Hill: Port St Mary’s all-weather lifeboat Gough Ritchie 2 and inshore lifeboat Spirit of Leicester returning from service.
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.