Fowey RNLI lifeboat crew rescue RNLI fundraising volunteer

Lifeboats News Release

On June 23 at 12.35pm the Coastguard received a Pan Pan call from a man on a RIB in Lantic bay. One of the tubes on the five metre RIB had burst and deflated.

Fowey RNLI

Rob Collings with his rib and the RNLI volunteer lifeboat crew

The coastguard requested help and the volunteer Fowey crew were tasked with launching their D-class inshore lifeboat.

When the lifeboat crew arrived at the RIB (Rigid Inflatable Boat), they discovered that the man onboard was a fellow RNLI volunteer, Rob Collings. Rob is on the Fowey RNLI fundraising committee and has been helping to raise funds for Fowey lifeboat station for the past 10 years.

Rob said: ‘I was about one mile off Lantic bay. It was a lovely calm day and I’d just had my lunch and was thinking about putting a fishing line over the side of the boat. Suddenly there was a loud bang and the rear starboard tube burst and immediately deflated. The sponson had part filled with water and was dragging the side of the boat down. I initially thought that I could pump it back up, but the cone at the end of the tube had split and there was a hole. At that point I thought this could get a bit serious, so I made a Pan Pan call on my VHF to Falmouth Coastguard. A local boat in the area heard the Pan Pan and immediately rushed to my rescue. They were very helpful and managed to tow me to the harbour mouth. There we were met by the inshore lifeboat and the crew set up a tow line.’

Rob was transferred to the inshore lifeboat and his RIB was towed back into Fowey Harbour to Caffa Mill where the crew put the boat onto its road trailer.

Rob concludes: ‘I know the crew well and have watched the lifeboat go out many many times over the years, but this was the first time I have ever been on the receiving end as a casualty vessel. The crew gave me real confidence, they were so reassuring and dealt with the situation in such a professional manner. To see them on a shout and to see how good they are was a real eye-opener, they couldn’t have been more helpful. I would like to offer them my sincere thanks and I would also like to thank the crew on the local boat that came to my assistance.’

The air inside inflatable RIB tubes can expand in extreme heat. If there is any sort of weakness in the tubes then they could be at risk of bursting. Fowey RNLI advise people to take extra care when using RIBs in hot conditions and to ensure that, like Rob, they always wear a lifejacket and carry a means of calling 999 coastguard for help.

Fowey RNLI

Fowey lifeboat fundraising committee member Rob Collings

Fowey RNLI

Fowey D-class inshore lifeboat launching

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.