Skegness RNLI volunteer crew rescue six-year-old child 3/4 of a mile out to sea

Lifeboats News Release

During a routine training exercise yesterday (Tuesday 22 August), Skegness RNLI lifeboat crew was urgently redirected to a service call, following a tasking from Humber Coastguard.

The distress call reported a six-year-old child adrift on an inflatable the size of a bodyboard, approximately three-quarters of a mile offshore from Chapel St Leonards, just north of Skegness.

The volunteer lifeboat crew was led by Senior Helm Lee St Quinton and included Trainee Helms Ryan Speed and Curtis Redford onboard during the service call.

Thanks to multiple 999 calls from the general public, the Coastguard relayed the critical information to the lifeboat crew, who were already afloat. This significantly improved the response time, with the volunteer crew reaching the location within 15 minutes of receiving the initial tasking.

Upon arrival, the crew faced the challenge of locating the child amidst the vast expanse of sea. A member of the public attempted to guide the crew by pointing towards the child's location, but the considerable distance between the shore and the casualty made initial identification challenging.

Despite the challenges, the lifeboat crew promptly adjusted their course, proceeding towards the last reported location of the young casualty. After calculating the drift of the casualty, the crew successfully identified the child who was drifting further out as time passed.

An offshore breeze blowing at around 12 knots and gusting up to 19 knots was pushing the child further out to sea. It was clear that the six-year-old, isolated at such a distance, could not return to shore without assistance from the lifeboat.

'Offshore winds can turn inflatables into dangerous objects at sea, swiftly carrying you away from shore. We strongly discourage their use in the sea.

'If you notice someone in danger, promptly dial 999 and request the Coastguard. The promptness of the public in raising the alarm this time significantly increased the chances of survival for our young casualty. We owe this successful rescue to their swift action.' said RNLI Skegness Senior Helm, Lee St Quinton.

Upon reaching the child, the crew brought them safely aboard the inshore lifeboat. An initial medical check revealed no immediate concerns as the child had not entered the water and stayed on the inflatable throughout the drift. The crew swiftly transported the child back to the shore.

Upon reaching land, the young child was reunited with their awaiting parents. The Coastguard Rescue Team was on the scene, ready to assist further if necessary.

The charity’s inshore lifeboat arrived back at Skegness Central Beach, and the crew debriefed following the service launch. Then they washed down and refuelled the inshore lifeboat to ensure the lifeboat was ready for the next emergency.

When visiting the beach, it is crucial to carry a means of calling for help. For those going into the water, a mobile phone in a waterproof pouch can prove invaluable in emergency situations for seeking assistance by calling 999/112 or alerting others.

In a water-related emergency, it is vital to remember the Float to Live technique. By staying calm, tilting your head back, and using your hands to stay afloat, you can increase your chances of survival until help arrives.

RNLI Skegness also recommends that beachgoers pay attention to weather and tide times, avoid using inflatables in strong winds or rough seas, and always supervise children.

This successful rescue operation underscores the vital role RNLI Skegness volunteer crew plays in maritime safety along the Lincolnshire coastline and demonstrates the crew members' dedication to respond swiftly and effectively to any emergency situation.

Notes to editors

The RNLI is the Royal National Lifeboat Institution.

Skegness RNLI is based on Tower Esplanade, Skegness. The lifeboat station was founded in 1825 and the volunteer crew use an inshore D class lifeboat The Holland Family.

RNLI media contacts
For further information, please contact:
Brad Johnson, Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer for Skegness at: [email protected]
RNLI Press Office: 01202 336789 or [email protected]


Onboard Helmet Camera footage from inshore lifeboat


Inshore lifeboat at sea


Onboard Helmet Camera footage from inshore lifeboat

RNLI/Brad Johnson

Senior Helm, Lee St Quinton

RNLI/Brad Johnson

Trainee Helm, Curtis Redford

RNLI/Brad Johnson

Trainee Helm, Ryan Speed

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.