RNLI Staff visit ends up out on a double shout

Lifeboats News Release

With the Covid pandemic restrictions easing, it has been busy time for the volunteers at Portishead. As RNLI staff members are now able to visit the coast, it was a pleasure to be able welcome our RNLI CEO Mark Dowie and Area Lifesaving Manager Andy Wright on two separate occasions.

Mark Dowie (centre) with Neil Sutor (Helm) left and Mike Roberts (Chairman) right

RNLI/Helen Lazenby

Mark Dowie (centre) with Neil Sutor (Helm) left and Mike Roberts (Chairman) right

RNLI’s Chief Executive Officer Mark Dowie, dropped by in April, something he had planned to do before the Covid pandemic struck but was forced to delay due to lockdown. He spent a few hours with the Portishead volunteers before continuing his visit to the Welsh stations, making his way around our coast. Mike Roberts Chairman here at Portishead said, ‘When Mark visited us recently at Portishead, it was a real pleasure to welcome him and talk through some of our experiences here. We really appreciate being part of the wider RNLI family, especially after the difficult year we have all had keeping the life-saving service operational throughout the Covid pandemic.’

Our new Area Lifesaving Manager Andy Wright, who joined the charity in November 2020 as a staff member, also visited. This visit was to enable him to take a look at our coast and see for himself the local area of operations for us. Andy’s role within the RNLI is to support RNLI lifeboat stations and lifeguards located in the South West and he wants to ensure he is familiar with all of our operational requirements to help us to save lives at sea.

The volunteers mustered to take Andy out to sea and whilst out on the water, 20 mins in to their research, the Coastguards called and tasked both Barry Dock’s all weather lifeboat crew and Portishead with their Atlantic 85 to help a yacht that had ran aground mid channel not far from Portishead. As the Barry Dock crew were making way and the casualties on board the stricken vessel were all fit and well, it was agreed that they would look take the lead on the call out and the Portishead crew would stand by to assist if needed.

It didn’t end there for Andy and the volunteers. They were tasked again just minutes later to an incident in the River Avon. Two people, one adult and one child had been spotted in difficulty in the water and with best speed, the helm Ian Alder made way to the Horseshoe Bend area of the river.

On arrival to the scene it was reported that the Police had managed to use throw lines and were able to pull the casualties to safety and were just handing them over to the Ambulance service. It was a large rescue operation supported by Coastguards from Portishead and their helicopter 187 in air support and the HART team.

Andy said ‘It was an eventful visit in Portishead and great to see how the volunteers worked as a team to support their community when they are needed most. I am really pleased to now be working for the RNLI as I haven’t lived close enough to a lifeboat station to be able to volunteer. My new role with the RNLI gives me the opportunity to give back to the community which is something we are all very passionate about.’

Notes to editors

Image are all ©RNLI Portishead

1 – Mark Dowie (centre) with Neil Sutor (Helm) and Mike Roberts (Chairman)

2 – Andy Wright (left facing camera with mask)

3 – RNLI Barry Dock all-weather-lifeboat towing the stricken yacht back to Portishead.

4 – On the River Avon supporting swimmer incident

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For more information please contact Helen Lazenby, volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer, on 07800 595995, helen_lazenby@rnli.org.uk, Scott Eggins volunteer Deputy Lifeboat Press Officer on 07539 270063, scott_eggins@rnli.org.uk or the RNLI Press Office on 01202 336789.

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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.

Andy Wright (left facing camera with mask)

RNLI/Helen Lazenby

Andy Wright (left facing camera with mask)
RNLI Barry Dock all-weather-lifeboat towing the stricken yacht back to Portishead.

RNLI/Helen Lazenby

RNLI Barry Dock all-weather-lifeboat towing the stricken yacht back to Portishead.
On the River Avon supporting swimmer incident

RNLI/Helen Lazenby

On the River Avon supporting swimmer incident

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.

Learn more about the RNLI

For more information please visit the RNLI website or Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. News releases, videos and photos are available on the News Centre.

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.