Port Talbot RNLI diverted from training to reports of an over due swimmer.
Port Talbot RNLI lifeboat D848 Craig Morris and its volunteer crew were tasked by HM Coastguard at 6.20pm to reports from two first informers that fellow swimmer was over due.
On a beautiful sunny evening, with calm seas, the planned training exercise for trainee helm Carl Matthews in preparation for his helm assessment next week, turned instantly to a rescue mission.
The reported information from HM Coastguard was that the swimmer had entered the water by Francos Chip Shop and was planning on exiting by the lifeboat slipway,
When he failed to return, his friends contacted HM Coastguard who immediately tasked the lifeboat to commence a shoreline search from Francos towards the North Pier, thankfully, just after starting the search, the volunteer lifeboat crew spotted the swimmer exiting further down the beach towards the North Pier and passed this information to HM Coastguard. Once confirmed this was the swimmer, the lifeboat was stood down and recommenced the exercise.
This was the first shout for volunteer crew Joseph Morris, who's day job is an RNLI Lifeguard on Aberavon Beach. Joseph is following in his father 30 year career of saving lives at sea and now RNLI Port Talbot Lifeboat Operations Manager, Clive Morris.
Joseph said: 'Lifeboating is in my genes, so it was amazing to turn the many hours of training into very good use. My lifeguard and lifeboat training combined in perfect unison allowing me to spot the casualty in the fading light and in the surf line. I am so proud to continue the family tradition of saving lives at sea.'
Rachel Thomas Deputy Launch authority, said: 'We launched on exercise at 6:05pm to undertake a veering exercise and emergency crew procedure training. Our volunteers are always ready to drop everything at a moments notice but already being at sea allowed for an instant response.
'At 6.20pm, two swimmers came to the lifeboat station to inform the volunteer crew that their friend had fallen behind during their sea swim and they could no longer see him. They had been back to their car and rendezvous point, he was not there and had not been seen coming out of the water.
'I asked the first informant to call HM Coastguard to report the incident whilst crew contacted the lifeboat to begin their search.
'During the search crew spotted the bright yellow swim cap and orange pull buoy of the missing swimmer just off of the pier. The swimmer was making his way ashore and was reunited with his friends and handed over to Port Talbot Coastguard.
'Port Talbot RNLI were stood down by Milford Haven Coastguard and re-commenced their training exercise.
'The crew reacted very efficiently breaking off their training exercise to commence a shoreline search. Thankfully the swimmer was quickly located with the help of his brightly coloured pull buoy and swim cap. He was very fortunate to have good friends who raised the alarm quickly highlighting the importance of swimming in a group and wearing HI-Vis swim wear and towing a swim buoy'.
It’s takes a massive commitment from our volunteers to be ready 24/7, 365 days in all weathers to save lives at sea. The RNLI is a charity that relies largely on these volunteers and totally on charitable donations.
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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