Articles Exmouth RNLI volunteers rescue man drifting out to sea in the dark

Exmouth RNLI volunteers rescue man drifting out to sea in the dark

Exmouth RNLI volunteers rescue man drifting out to sea in the dark

Inshore D class lifeboat George Bearman launched at 10.35pm on 1 July following a call to the Coastguard concerning a fishing boat being swept out to sea in the dark, 1.5 miles from the mouth of the river Exe. 

The 999 call was made by a concerned member of the casualty’s family and mentioned that the sole male occupant had no lights, lifejacket, flares or radio on board his 21 foot fishing boat, which also had a struggling engine.

A decision was made by Lifeboat Operations Manager, Kevin Riley to launch both the D class and Shannon class lifeboats. Kevin describes what happened:

‘I made the decision to launch both lifeboats and the inshore was on the water within minutes. Helm Scott Ranft spotted a vessel with no lights opposite the station in the channel and it was slowly being swept out the sea in a strong ebbing tide. It was the reported vessel. The three volunteers in the D class lifeboat towed the vessel to a mooring off Cockwood and dropped the casualty off at Starcross pier. Then George Bearman returned to the station, cleaned and refuelled, ready for service again. The Shannon class lifeboat R and J Welburn had just left the boathouse when the casualty vessel had been spotted, so it was stood down and rehoused.

The RNLI provides a sea safety advice service and strongly advocates the wearing of lifejackets and the carrying of basic safety equipment to include in date distress flares and VHF radio.

Peter Williams is Exmouth RNLI’s Coastal Safety Officer:

‘The distress call was made by mobile phone to the casualty’s partner who in turn, contacted the Coastguard. The exact position of the distressed vessel was also unclear. Fortunately, the conditions were calm and the volunteers quickly located the casualty without the need for extensive search or launch of more resources. Local RNLI Coastal Safety teams are available to offer free, impartial advice and guidance to assist boat owners in preparing and equipping their vessels and crew whatever type of water related activity is being undertaken. To contact your local Coastal Safety adviser, email who can direct your enquiry.’


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