Donate now

Busy 18 hours for Weston-super-Mare RNLI

Lifeboats News Release

Like buses that all show up at once, Weston-super-Mare RNLI was kept busy over the weekend (24-25 June) with multiple shouts over an 18 hour period.

RNLI Weston-super-Mare

The Atlantic 85 lifeboat being laucnhed at the weekend

At 9.15pm on Saturday (24 June), the Milford Haven Coastguard tasked the D class lifeboat, Adrian Beaumont and her crew to reports of someone stuck in the mud, near the Grand Pier.

Before the lifeboat could deploy, the shout was cancelled as the person stuck was able to free themselves and make their way to shore, where they were checked over by ambulance.

Members of the public then made the emergency services on site aware of a suspicious object in the water. The Coastguard once again tasked the D class to investigate, at 9.26pm. The crew also requested the larger Atlantic lifeboat, Douglas Murray be tasked to assist in the search. The crew conducted a search but were able to locate some debris and after a thorough sweep of the area, they were satisfied it had caused the concern.

Then, as the boats were returning to the slipway, another tasking request came in at 10pm with reports of two people stranded on the derelict pier on Birnbeck Island.

The D class made haste to the Island while the Atlantic remained close by to support if needed. The crew rescued two people from the island and returned them to shore where the police and Coastguard were waiting.

On Sunday afternoon (25 June) at 12.53pm the Coastguard tasked the Atlantic class lifeboat to a report of two children on paddleboards in Sand Bay, apparently in trouble drifting to sea.

Just after the Atlantic was launched at 1.04pm, the station received another tasking to a high priority incident involving two children in difficulty swimming near Black Rock, at Brean Down. The D class was launched to the scene at 1.10pm. The Coastguard then updated that their shore team would conclude the paddleboard incident as the casualties had managed their way safely back to shore, so the Atlantic re-routed to assist with the swimmers at Brean Down.

The volunteer lifeboat crew successfully recovered two adults from the area, returning them to Knightstone slipway for some safety advice from the Coastguard.

Not 100% certain these were the people that had been seen by the original informant, the Atlantic then re-joined the D class, along with the Coastguard Rescue helicopter R187 for a further search.

After further conversation with the informant and the descriptions given, the Coastguard were satisfied the RNLI had indeed collected the people reported to be in trouble and ended the search.

Daniel Hawkins, volunteer helm of the Atlantic class lifeboat, said: 'We arrived near Brean Down and located two swimmers on the rocks. As we’d already launched from a previous tasking we saved vital time reaching the casualties.

'It was an hour after high tide and the strong outgoing tidal currents at this time are impossible to swim against.

'If we hadn’t found them when we did, they may have decided to try to swim back shore and would been swept out to sea resulting in an end different ending.'

Chris Ware, volunteer Lifeboat Operations Manager at Weston-super-Mare RNLI, added:

'The great dynamic of our team, and the fast thinking that took place allowed us to respond with our partner agencies (Coastguard, police, fire, ambulance and the Weston beach rangers) to some fast-moving situations, resulting in the rescue of several people.

'This was a great example of teamwork from everyone involved. Of course, I am particularly proud of our own volunteer lifeboat crew.”

Please remember if you're visiting the local coastline:

- Do not venture out into the mud. It can quickly become treacherous and even at ankle deep, getting stuck becomes a real possibility. Add an incoming tide to the equation and the danger escalates rapidly.

Birnbeck Pier is not safe in its current state. Trespassers to the island can be stranded and injured, as well as putting the lives of rescuers at risk.

When paddleboarding or swimming, be aware of the tides and winds, ensuring you have a way to communicate if you find yourself in trouble.

If you see anyone in trouble in the sea/mud call 999 and ask for the Coastguard.

RNLI Weston-super-Mare

The damaged walkway to Birnbeck Island

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.