Ilfracombe volunteer crew launch in driving snow to paddle boarder in difficulty
Ilfracombe RNLI launched their all weather lifeboat, The Barry and Peggy High Foundation on Saturday 17 March at 11.22am.
Andrew Bengey Coxswain at Ilfracombe RNLI was in command of the boat.
He said: 'The call was to a paddle boarder that was seen to be lying on his board in the Combe Martin area and may be in difficulties. With very challenging conditions, wind at gale force and a 3 - 4 metre sea our shore crew launched us safely at low water on a spring tide.
'This is when the station's launch and recovery system comes into its own by keeping us stable and safe with breaking seas around us at the launch site giving me time to pick my moment to release the boat from its cradle.
'We located the casualty shortly after launching, he was safe and well and very well equipped but he was unsure if anybody else was out as he was around two miles from the position given. With that in mind we continued to Combe Martin bay and conducted a shoreline search in driving snow, large seas and freezing conditions.
'With nothing found we returned to station where our shore crew were waiting for us, again conditions were not good but they did an amazing job of recovering us from the water quickly and safely, this is when you realise that the hours of training the whole station does is for that moment when conditions are poor like today.'
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