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Ramsgate RNLI launched to injured fisherman with severe Weever fish stings

Lifeboats News Release

On Sunday 24 June at 12.57pm the all-weather lifeboat 'Esme Anderson' was launched at the request of HM Coastguard to recover a fisherman with severe Weever fish stings on his hands from a local angling boat.

Weever fish

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Weever fish

When the lifeboat reached the fishing boat which was five miles off shore, the casualty was transferred onboard where he was given immediate medical attention. A crew member was then placed onboard the fisherman’s boat so that it could be brought back into the harbour whilst the lifeboat returned immediately to Ramsgate Lifeboat station.

As luck would have it, the local RNLI lifeguards were holding a first aid training session at the station and the tutor was able to make a quick assessment and offer advice.

He also said that Weever fish stings are extremely common but they can also become serious if there is a bad reaction. An extract from the British Marine Life Study Society explains how it can feel:

‘Beware of a little (> 10 cm) sandy coloured fish that lives in the English Channel. It spends most of the time actually buried under the sea bed with just its venomous dorsal fin showing above the sandy bottom. On the rare occasions when it is plentiful, rows of erect black triangles decorate the sandy floor of the sea bed.

Woe betide a bather who steps upon a buried fish. The pain is usually described as excruciating as the spines embed into the human flesh and discharge their venom. The pain is at its most intense for the first two hours when the foot goes red and swells up and is then it feels numb until the following day with irritation and pain that may last for up to two weeks. Sometimes, the spine breaks off in the foot and it will cause discomfort until it is removed.’

After the treatment the casualty was taken to the local A&E hospital.

The RNLI is the charity that saves lives at sea with an average of 22 people a day being aided and it relies entirely on public donations.


Media Contacts

Karen Cox Lifeboat Press Officer tel 07779848431.

Paul Dunt Regional Media Officer for London and the South East. tel nos. 0778520296252.

For enquiries outside normal business hours, contact the RNLI duty press officer on 01202 336789

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.

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