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Harwich RNLI volunteers called away from families on Easter Sunday

Lifeboats News Release

Easter celebrations were cut short for the volunteers of Harwich RNLI when they rushed away from their families after a small boat ran aground at the entrance to the River Orwell


Just visible is the white fishing boat stranded on Shotley Spit

At 5.30pm on Sunday 17 April (Easter Sunday) the volunteer crew of Harwich RNLI’s Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat Tierney, Harvey, and Sonny Reid were requested by the UK Coastguard to assist a small fishing boat, with one occupant, which had reportedly run aground on Shotley Spit, at the entrance to the River Orwell.

The volunteers were quickly on scene, but discovered the boat was high out of the water, and were unable to get close to it. They stayed as close as possible to provide waterside cover while volunteers from the Holbrook Coastguard rescue team attempted to reach the boat from the shore.

Once ashore, the fisherman’s condition was assessed by the coastguard team and deemed to be in need of specialist care from paramedics, as they appeared to be suffering from hypothermia.

The Harwich lifeboat and crew returned to station at 6.36pm and prepared for their next service.

Lifeboat Operations Manager Peter Bull would like to remind those taking to the water that the temperature is cooler than on land and will need to dress accordingly.

Whichever water sport or activity you wish to undertake the safety advice has similar key messages:

• Carry a means of calling for help on you, such as a mobile phone in a waterproof pouch.
• Suitable floatation device for your activity, such as a lifejacket or buoyancy aid. For some activities like paddle boarding, a more tailored device would be advantageous.
• Wear suitable clothing for the conditions
• Make sure your equipment is in good condition, especially any safety features
• Check tides and weather before setting out
• Get the appropriate training
• Don’t go alone, and if you do, tell someone where you are going and the time you plan to be back
• Look out for each other
• Float like a big starfish if you fall in the water until breathing under control
• Lots more advice on enjoying the water safely available at

RNLI media contacts

For more information, please contact:

Richard Wigley, RNLI Harwich volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer on 07903424698 or [email protected],

Clare Hopps, Regional Media Officer on 07824518641or [email protected] or contact the RNLI Press Office on 01202 336789.

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.

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.