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A Mayday call and beach rescue for St Bees RNLI

Lifeboats News Release

At 6.37pm St Bees RNLI volunteers were paged by Belfast Coastguard, who had received a Mayday call from two vessels. One was a yacht with four people on board that had engine failure and the other a rigid inflatable with two people on board that was taking on water. Both were north of Whitehaven.

Escorting the small boat into harbour

RNLI/Colin Wadey

Photo courtesy of Workington RNLI

The yacht originally had six people on board but had put two into the inflatable to try to tow the yacht into Whitehaven Harbour. In the deteriorating conditions the skipper of the yacht did the right thing in putting out a Mayday call.

Workington all-weather lifeboat (ALB) had also been launched and despite the difficult conditions both RNLI crews soon made their way to the stricken vessels.

As both lifeboats were making their way to the casualties a service boat for the Robin Rigg wind farm Mareel Sepia, who had initially responded to the Mayday call, was stood down.

As soon as the lifeboats arrived on scene they both transferred a crew member onto the yacht to assist with attaching a tow line and to check on the welfare of all on board. One person was treated for minor injuries.

With a tow line safely attached both vessels were successfully taken to the safety of Whitehaven Marina where they were met by members of the Whitehaven Coastguard Rescue Team.

While the St Bees RNLI lifeboat crew were busy at sea the shore crew were approached by a young man who asked if they could help his mother, who had fallen on the rocks about 200 metres from the lifeboat station.

The shore crew made their way to the woman who had injured her ankle and was unable to walk and in a lot of pain. The volunteers, using their RNLI Casualty Care training, diagnosed a possible broken or dislocated ankle and secured her to their stretcher. They then carefully made their way back over the rocks to the shelter of the lifeboat station where she was then made as comfortable as possible until they were able to hand her over to North West Ambulance Service.

Dick Beddows St Bees Lifeboat Operations Manager said:

‘It was a busy night for our volunteers both boat and shore crew but their training meant they were well prepared’

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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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.