Two Breakwater Rescues For Holyhead RNLI
A puppy falling in to the sea and a lone sailor in trouble meant that Holyhead RNLI were called out twice yesterday (Sunday 6 November).
The first call came just before 10.50am, requesting the launch of the D-class inshore lifeboat Mary and Archie Hooper. HM Coastguard had received a call from a distressed owner after a young border collie had fallen into the water from the harbour side of Holyhead Breakwater.
Volunteers launched and immediately headed to the location, just a short distance from the lifeboat station. The dog was spotted struggling to stay afloat, and its owner could be seen directly above the dog’s position on the breakwater, still in phone contact with HM Coastguard. Two crew members entered the water and helped the dog onto a disused pipeline, where he could be settled and checked for any injuries. Once he was deemed to be well, the dog was taken on to the lifeboat, and then taken straight to the relieved owner and the waiting cliff rescue volunteers, who had also arrived at the scene to assist, and were all waiting at the steps further along the breakwater.
The lifeboat then left the scene and returned to station, where she was made ready for any further calls by midday.
A few short hours later, as daylight was fading, the crew received another request from HM Coastguard. The inshore lifeboat was again requested – this time to help a lone sailor in a 26ft sailing vessel, who was suffering from fatigue and at anchor close to the breakwater.
Pagers sounded just before 4.45pm. A concerned member of the public had called HM Coastguard, as the craft was so close to the breakwater. Coastguard personnel had made contact with the sailor, who confirmed he was struggling, and accepted the advice to receive assistance. The vessel had been suffering a lack of power to make safe way, and the sailor, on his way from Cardiff to London, had decided to seek shelter in Holyhead.
Once again the volunteers launched very quickly and headed to the location, just off the second bend of the breakwater.
On reaching the destination, two lifeboat crew members boarded the casualty craft, where the welfare of the sailor was assessed. Aside from the fatigue, he was found to be well, and it was agreed that the best course of action would be to establish a tow and bring him to the safety of Holyhead harbour, where he could rest overnight before continuing his journey.
The vessel and occupant were towed to the Holyhead Marina area, and the lifeboat then returned to the station, and was once again washed and prepared for any further calls by 6pm.
Speaking about the rescues, David Owens, Lifeboat Operations Manager (LOM) at Holyhead Lifeboat Station, said:
‘Once again our dedicated volunteer crew dropped everything they were doing, and headed out to sea to help others. The young dog was struggling, but thankfully his owner listened to the advice from the Coastguard and didn’t enter the water himself to try and save him If he had, we may then have had two casualties to save. As much as it must have been incredibly difficult to see his pet in trouble, he did exactly the right thing by dialling 999, asking for the coastguard, and staying on land.’
‘We always advice owners to keep dogs on leads in areas where they may get into danger, and this includes our breakwater here in Holyhead. We’re just relieved that on this occasion, we were able to rescue the dog and return him to his very relieved owner.’
Referring to the second rescue, he said:
‘The man had rightly decided to break up his journey to deal with fatigue and the sea conditions, but had found himself in a little bit of trouble very close to the breakwater. We applaud the member of the public for making the call to HM Coastguard, as that then meant we were made aware of the situation and were able to help very quickly.’
‘We wish the man a safe passage up to Scotland, and thank him for acknowledging his predicament and accepting assistance.’
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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