RNLI volunteers from Salcombe and Dart rescue a humpbacked whale
Ten days after being freed from a line of whelk pots off Blackpool Sands in South Devon the whale returned and was ensnared again.
The RNLI Dart inshore lifeboat (ILB)was already involved in the rescue of a rowing team on the River Dart on Saturday 1 April and was tasked to assist the Salcombe Tamar class all-weather lifeboat when the ILB had refuelled and had a crew change.
The Salcombe lifeboat located the whale a quarter of a mile offshore opposite Matts Point in Start Bay, slightly west of where she had been trapped previously.
The Dart lifeboat put two volunteer crewmen on the Tamar and fetched Ali Jones from the British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) team to assess the situation. She found that the weight of pots was far greater than on the previous occasion and it was decided to use the winch on the Tamar to lift the buoyed line.
Ali was joined by David McDonald from the BDMLR and he and Chris Tracey from the inshore lifeboat crew cut the pots free as they came to the surface including a particularly heavy entangled mesh of the pots.
Eventually only a single line ran from around the whale to the seabed and Chris was able to cut this and the whale was freed again.
It took two lifeboats with complementary capabilities to complete this rescue and shows the value of volunteer lifeboat crews training with their flank stations and being willing and able to professionally assist volunteers from other organisations such as those from the BDMLR team.
RNLI Media Contacts: John Fenton, RNLI Dart Lifeboat Press officer, firstname.lastname@example.org
Mobile 07970 921504.
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
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