View as PDF

RNLI Penlee rescue lone fisherman in early morning call out

Lifeboats News Release

Penlee RNLI have rescued a lone local fisherman after his boat broke down in Mount’s Bay during the early hours of the morning (Friday 9 February)

Map of search area

RNLI/Elaine Trethowan

Search pattern of RNLB Ivan Ellen
At 6.57am this morning (Friday 9 February) the pagers sounded and the volunteer crew were requested to launch their all-weather lifeboat. A report had been received from Falmouth Coastguard that a 2-m inflatable boat, with one person on board, had suffered engine failure somewhere in Mount’s Bay.

Falmouth Coastguard were alerted to this emergency by a family member who was concerned about the safety and welfare of her relative. The lone fisherman had left his home address at about 10.30pm to go on a night-time fishing trip, launching his inflatable boat from Long Rock beach into the darkness of Mount’s Bay at about 1.00am. Shortly after launching the outboard engine broke down and the fisherman was forced to row against a strong north-westerly wind which was gusting to Force 8 for most of the night - he was unable to make any headway and eventually became extremely tired. Thankfully he was able to use his mobile phone to summon help.

Just before daylight, at 7.02am, just 5 minutes after the pagers had sounded, Penlee RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat Ivan Ellen, launched from Newlyn with seven crew onboard. They steamed across Mount’s Bay and quickly located the inflatable and its occupant, who was waving a torch to attract their attention, 1-mile south of St Michael’s Mount. The fisherman was very cold, exhausted and extremely relieved to see the lifeboat. He was taken onboard the Ivan Ellen with his inflatable boat and conveyed back to Newlyn. On arrival he was taken to the Lifeboat Station to warm up and have a cuppa of tea. None the worse for his ordeal he was collected by a family member.

The weather conditions at the time were quite poor with a north-westerly wind still gusting to Force 8, it was extremely cold with a choppy sea.

Speaking following this call out, Penlee RNLI Coxswain Patch Harvey said: ‘This was an early morning call out for our volunteers who reacted promptly to their pagers. Time is of the essence in these circumstances and the lifeboat was heading out of Newlyn Harbour in 5 minutes. Thankfully we located the casualty really quickly but with a strong north-westerly wind, freezing temperatures of just one degree, and a choppy sea, the end result could easily have been different. This call out is another fine example of our volunteer crew at Penlee being willing to sacrifice the warmth and comfort of their beds for the cold and damp conditions at sea, to help bring others to safety.’

RNLI pager

RNLI/Elaine Trethowan

RNLI pager
Ivan Ellen Lifeboat on her mooring

RNLI/Elaine Trethowan

Ivan Ellen Lifeboat ready and waiting at her mooring
Ivan Ellen heading out of the harbour

RNLI/Elaine Trethowan

Ivan Ellen Lifeboat heading out this morning

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