Yet another call to Birnbeck Island for Weston-super-Mare RNLI's volunteers
Weston RNLI station has had nine calls so far this year, five of them to the derelict island of Birnbeck
The derelict and deserted Birnbeck Island sticks out into the Bristol Channel at the north of Weston Bay. Once a world beating entertainment hub and also the home for Weston RNLI lifeboat for many years it has now sunk into disrepair. The pier connecting it to the mainland is so dangerous even lifeboat crews are not allowed to use it.
However there is a shingle bank, exposed at every low tide, which connects the island to the mainland. This shingle bank is a magnet for many who think it would be fun to walk over it to the island. But the tide comes in with ferocity in this area and very soon the shingle bank is covered and victims are cut off.
On Friday some of the lifeboat crew saw a man walking over this shingle bank just when the tide was starting to flood. They knew it would be covered shortly and the man would not be able to get back. They informed one of their colleagues from Weston Coastguard and then the whole lifeboat crew was paged to go to the rescue.
When the D Class lifeboat Anna Stock approached the Island they could not, at first, see the casualty. They had to land crew on the island and after some time the man was found in a gully amongst the rocks. He was scared, apologetic and embarrassed. It turned out he was Hungarian and was only visiting Weston for a week. He did not understand the local tides and the risk he was under. He had gone over to take photos as he found the scenery beautiful.
Terry Wells, Weston RNLI Helm said: 'Once again we go to Birnbeck. We can’t blame this man as he did not know how dangerous it is. It is strange that he thought we were the police and then he wanted to know how much we were going to charge. Obviously it is different in his country.’
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.
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