Bank holiday sunshine keeps Exmouth RNLI busy
A total of three rescues and a four hour training session kept Exmouth RNLI crew volunteers busy over the May Day bank holiday.
The weekend started with scheduled training exercises on both the inshore and all-weather lifeboats. 2012 saw an influx of volunteer recruits and routine training is necessary to keep everybody up to speed. Only an hour after finishing, the crew volunteers put their training into practise when their pagers sounded.
On Saturday 4 May at 3.22pm, Brixham coastguard tasked the inshore lifeboat, George Bearman. The three-man crew responded to reports of a 14-foot fishing boat with engine failure off Orcombe Point. Crew volunteers Ian Taylor, Guy Munnings and Roy Stott at the helm, towed the casualty to a mooring by the Exe Sailing Club.
On their return to the lifeboat station, within seven minutes of leaving the first casualty, the same crew volunteers were called to a similar incident. The second small boat was located floating towards the number eight buoy, close to the lifeboat station. The trio of life-saving volunteers towed this boat to a mooring near the entrance Exmouth docks.
On Sunday 5 May at 6pm, crew volunteer Henry Mock spotted a Bayliner sports boat in difficulty, in front of the lifeboat station. Henry, 18, telephoned Brixham coastguard and activated the volunteers’ pagers when he saw the boat’s emergency red flare. Within four minutes, the inshore lifeboat had reached the bottom of the slipway and a passing fishing vessel, Shelley Marie was already recovering the seven casualties from the water. The 17-foot Bayliner had taken on water and was finally capsizing when the charity’s crew reached the scene. Crew volunteers Guy Munnings and David Preece towed the sports boat back to the beach to safety.
Later that evening, a member of the public had reported leaking petrol on the beach, coming from the boat. The fire service and police were in attendance as there was a potential risk of fire, since the battery was still connected to the engine. Police instructed Exmouth RNLI to right the Bayliner and make it safe. After failed attempts to move it using nine crew volunteers, it took around 20 minutes to turn it using the winch and the Tallus tractor. The battery was isolated by the fire service and the boat was then towed up to the sea wall for the owner to recover. Coxswain Tim Mock said of the incident;
‘In this incident, all the casualties were wearing lifejackets and the boat was carrying flares. As we’re now getting more decent weather, it is important that we check that all the appropriate equipment is onboard and working.’