Two shouts in an hour for new recruit at Cullercoats RNLI

Lifeboats News Release

What started out as a routine training night with one of Cullercoats RNLI's new recruits, turned out to be a busy evening with two shouts in little over 30 minutes for the volunteer crew.

RNLI/Helen Cowan

Cullercoats Lifeboat launching on exercise

The crew had been practising casualty care and transfers of crew and casualties with one of the North Shields Trawler fleet that was heading out to sea when HM Coastguard relayed a message to the crew that immediate assistance was required in King Edwards Bay, as shouts of ‘Help’ could be heard from the water.

Making best speed towards the reported location, the crew could see the casualty being recovered by off duty RNLI lifeguards who were still at the beach following their shift. The Coastguard requested a lifeboat crew member go ashore to provide casualty care if required.

Using the anchor to veer down on the beach, the lifeboat manoeuvred as close to the shore as it could safely get before a crew member was committed to the water to swim through the breaking surf, with first aid bag in tow. The anchor was recovered (the crew member on the anchor pulls the boat through the water) and the boat made its way out of the surf line as waves continued to break over the bow, lifting the lifeboat out of the water.

As the casualty required no medical treatment, the whole process was undertaken again to collect the crew member - veering down through the breaking waves. With two runs on the anchor and a challenging swim under their belts, the helm gave the crew a few minutes to recover their breath. Their break lasted only a few minutes.

Whilst making their way into the Tyne, the Coastguard tasked the lifeboat crew to the north end of Longsands beach to a report of two paddle boarders in difficulty. Making best speed around the Tyne Piers, the crew quickly identified the two casualties.

One casualty appeared to be safely on their board but struggling in the blustery conditions, the other was struggling in the water and waving towards the shoreline for assistance. With danger to life identified, the casualty in the water was deemed the priority, and was quickly recovered to the lifeboat.

Once the first casualty was safely onboard the lifeboat, the crew made their way to the other paddle board. As the crew approached, and upon closer inspection, it became evident that there were two casualties on the paddle board, including a small child.

Having recovered the three casualties and their equipment, the crew checked the casualties over with only minor first aid being required when back at the station due to a pre existing medical condition. Colleagues from Tynemouth Volunteer Life Brigade were on the beach to meet the casualty and offer support.

The crew were debriefed and stood down whilst the shore crew cleaned the boat down, including a full COVID decontamination and readied it for service.

Emile Chartier, the charity's new recruit responded amazingly to the challenges placed upon her, completing two shouts on only her third training session on the lifeboat. Em said:

‘I am very proud to be part of this team, and genuinely impressed by how the crew on the lifeboat handled the whole situation, switching from teachers to rescuers in an instant. I really couldn’t have asked for a better team to learn from and experience these shouts with. It also confirms my choice to join the lifeboat!’

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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 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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