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Three emergencies in a week for Barry Dock RNLI lifeboat station

Lifeboats News Release

The Barry Dock RNLI lifeboat was called out today to a dramatic rescue in the Bristol Channel.

Just after mid-day, volunteer crew were tasked to a yacht sailing close to Steep Holm.  The Skipper of the yacht had been injured and required medical attention, although the quick thinking of his crew mate prevented further injury and complications.  The crew were well equipped and experienced sailors and were grateful to the RNLI for the rescue.  Barry Dock RNLI lifeboat crewmen John McAllister and Ian Watts went aboard the yacht to give immediate medical assistance, then the lifeboat escorted the yacht to Cardiff Bay where the Ambulance Service and Penarth Coastguard were waiting to give further help. 

Also present at the scene was the Coastguard Helicopter Rescue 187 but, after discussions with the lifeboat crew, stood down and returned to their base at St Athan.

Deputy Coxswain Chris Osbourne, who led the rescue, said ‘Even the most experienced and well equipped sailors can need our assistance from time to time.  If you would like a free sea safety check before you go out on the water, contact us at and we will be happy to help.’

This was the third emergency call out for the volunteer crew this week. 

The first took place on Thursday evening 14 April.  The lifeboat was called to search the Barry coast after red distress flares were spotted shortly before 8.30pm.  Crew used sight and night vision aids along with its sophisticated radar to carry out the search.  A boat in the area was contacted for information and Barry Coastguard contacted the Port Security and person who dialled 999 to alert the emergency services that the flares had been set off.   Coastguard Helicopter Rescue 187 joined the search but after a substantial search of the area, it appeared most likely that the flares had been set off from land and so the search was called off.  The lifeboat was made ready for service again by 9.44pm

The second shout of the week took place on Saturday at 6.00pm.  A yacht had run aground on a sandbank in the middle of the Bristol Channel off Newport, and needed assistance.  Barry Dock Lifeboat launched and stood by to assess the situation.  Barry Dock requested that the RNLI lifeboat from Portishead were also called to assist as their smaller boat was better placed to get close to the casualty.  They made the yacht safe and ready to be re-floated on the incoming tide.  Barry Dock RNLI lifeboat returned to the station around 9.00pm.

Barry Dock RNLI lifeboat station will be working with the Coastguard Helicopter Rescue 187 and the RNLI beach lifeguards to stage a rescue demonstration at Whitmore Bay, Barry Island.  Events start from 11.00am with the helicopter demonstration taking place at 2.00pm.  The display is free to attend, but donations on the day will be warmly welcomed.

Key facts about the RNLI

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is the charity that saves lives at sea. Our volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service in the United Kingdom and Ireland from 238 lifeboat stations, including four along the River Thames and inland lifeboat stations at Loch Ness, Lough Derg, Enniskillen, Carrybridge and Lough Ree. Additionally the RNLI has more than 1,000 lifeguards on over 240 beaches around the UK and operates a specialist flood rescue team, which can respond anywhere across the UK and Ireland when inland flooding puts lives at risk.

The RNLI relies on public donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. As a charity it is separate from, but works alongside, government-controlled and funded coastguard services. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824 our lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved at least 140,000 lives. Volunteers make up 95% of the charity, including 4,600 volunteer lifeboat crew members and 3,000 volunteer shore crew. Additionally, tens of thousands of other dedicated volunteers raise funds and awareness, give safety advice, and help in our museums, shops and offices.

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 or by email.


The RNLI is a charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SC037736). Charity number 20003326 in the Republic of Ireland