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Mid-training callout for RNLI Penarth as volunteer crew search Sully Island

Lifeboats News Release

RNLI Penarth’s volunteer crew had to make a quick change of plan as this week’s training exercise was cut short by a search for people stranded on Sully Island.

RNLI Penarth

RNLI Penarth's crew assisting people stranded on Sully Island

After both lifeboats had launched from a busy Penarth beach on Tuesday evening, the planned training exercise was cut short by a call from Milford Haven Coastguard requesting a search of Sully Island.

The island is a popular spot for people to visit by walking across the causeway at low tide. But at high tide the causeway quickly becomes flooded, with dangerously strong currents.

On arriving at the scene, the crew encountered two people trying to cross the flooding causeway. A crew member then went ashore to search the island, and found two more walkers who had become stranded by the tide. Both people were taken safely back to the mainland aboard the D-class lifeboat.

RNLI Penarth and RNLI Barry Dock lifeboat crews attend several callouts each year to people cut off by the tide on the island, with the summer being a particularly busy time.

Jason Dunlop, Lifeboat Operations Manager at RNLI Penarth Lifeboat Station, said:

“The stretch of water between Sully Island and the mainland can be incredibly fast flowing. In the past people have been swept away and lives have sadly been lost. It’s important not to try to cross the causeway when it’s beginning to flood.

“When you’re out enjoying the coast, please make sure you’re aware of the tide times to avoid being cut off.”

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.