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Rescued Fisherman returns hails RNLI volunteers ‘number one’ lifesavers

Lifeboats News Release

The fisherman rescued by Penarth & Barry Dock RNLI on 12 June returned to the Penarth RNLI Lifeboat Station yesterday to thank the volunteer crews that saved him and his friend from the sea when their boat sank.

Andrew Lewis and his friend were heading home after being out on his boat for an evening’s fishing, when the boat started taking on water.

Andrew says:

‘We were heading around Sully Island when the sea started to get a bit choppy, so we eased back on the speed. After a few minutes my friend said he heard a crack, I didn’t hear anything, but the next minute there was water coming in the cabin and the engine started struggling.

Andrew called UK Coastguard at Milford Haven to raise a distress call. Milford Haven Coastguard then paged Penarth and Barry Dock RNLI lifeboats.

Andrew continued:

‘We were bailing the water out of the boat to try and keep the boat afloat until the lifeboat turned up. I think if we hadn’t been bailing the boat out we would have lost the boat before the lifeboat arrived. I’m really grateful to all the volunteers who came out to us – they really are the best.. To see the lifeboats coming over the horizon was fantastic. The RNLI do a fantastic job’.

Jason Dunlop, lifeboat operations manager for Penarth RNLI station said, ‘this was an extremely challenging rescue carried out in difficult seas and in pitch darkness. Our crews train for this type of incident, and have access to the very best RNLI equipment, but this shout was one which will stay with me. Two lives were saved as a result of the bravery and selfless actions of our volunteer crew members. Andrew and his friend were very lucky that we could get to them as quickly as we did, together with the additional resources that attended the incident. They also had several means of communication with them, together with lifejackets and flares, and they knew the local hazards and who to call for help.’

RNLI/Callum Robinson

Casualty Andrew Lewis visted Penarth Lifeboat Station yesterday to thank the volunteer lifesavers

RNLI/Callum Robinson

The casualties being transfer to Barry Dock Lifeboat from Penarth's inshore lifeboat

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 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.

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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