A busy week for Lowestoft RNLI Lifeboat crew
After a rather quiet first half of the year the volunteer crew from Lowestoft RNLI Lifeboat station have just had five calls in six days
The quintet of shouts showed the different types of incidents that the crew could face. The first on August 1st saw them called to bring a Dutch fisherman ashore for compassionate reasons.
Using the RNLI Shannon-Class relief Lifeboat ‘Reg’ they launched just before 8pm to go to the aid of the crewman on the trawler which was six miles north-east of Lowestoft. Lifeboat Coxswain John Fox said: “the 42-metre family owned trawler based in Ijmuiden had been fishing off the coast when they received news of a death in their family and they called for help to bring one of the crew ashore – so that he could return home. We landed the man at the Lifeboat Station where our Chaplin, Senior Superintendent Tim Jenkins, met him. Tim then drove him to Norwich ready for a flight back to the Netherlands in the morning.”
Two days later the crew were called into action again when an ocean racing yacht called for help after suffering electrical failure on board. Aldeburgh Lifeboat ‘Freddie Cooper’ responded to the initial call and located the yacht ten miles south-east of their station. The 19-metre vessel was on its way from Helsinki to Southampton to take part in the Fastnet race when it got into difficulties suffering an electrical failure resulting in having no navigation lights and an intermittent radio. Aldeburgh lifeboat initially began escorting the yacht towards Lowestoft. Then Lowestoft relief lifeboat ‘Reg’ was called to take over the escort - with both vessels arriving safely in port at a quarter past midnight
An immediate launch was requested the following day when just before 9am when reports came in of three people in the water just west of the town’s bascule bridge. Coxswain John Fox said: “we launched very quickly and headed the short distance to the incident which was close to the former Port House quay. RNLI Lifeguard supervisor Nick Ayers, who was nearby, quickly joined us. Someone had already thrown a lifebelt into the water and the rope from it had been tied around the waist of one of the men in the water. I manoeuvred the lifeboat close to him and Mr Ayers helped placed a strop around the man and our crew then hauled him onto the lifeboat. They then pulled a second person onto the lifeboat. Police and a Fire Officer had also came aboard our boat to assist with the rescue and helped to wrap the soaked rescuee in blankets.” The other person in the water was helped to climb back up a ladder onto the quay and the lifeboat took the other two to the silo steps where they were brought ashore and into the care of the Ambulance service.
Then, just after 11am (on 5th August) Lowestoft Lifeboat responded to reports of an empty dinghy off Kessingland. Coxswain John Fox said; “Pakefield Coastwatch saw what they thought was an empty dinghy out to sea, from their lookout and reported it to the UK Coastguard. When we got to the scene, which was about three-quarters of a mile offshore, we found an orange inflatable boat - which was indeed empty. We lifted it on board and then went close into the nearby beach at Kessingland and spoke to some beach-goers to see if they could shed any light on who the inflatable belonged to. Eventually we spoke to someone who had seen the inflatable boat close to the beach without anyone in it and we were stood down.”
Lastly a distress call picked up (on August 6th) by Lowestoft Port Control from an angling boat drifting towards rocks brought a swift response from a passing speedboat as well as the town’s lifeboat - that averted a potentially more serious situation. The two men and a youth on board their 21-foot angling boat had been fishing at sea near to Ness Point when their engine failed and they started to drift towards the rocks that are protecting the shoreline. They radioed for help and Lowestoft lifeboat launched just before 2.30pm to go to their aid.
Coxswain John Fox said; “when we reached the angling boat she was about half a mile offshore and was being pulled away from the coast by a speedboat that had been passing. It was timely assistance as with the wind getting up and with an ebb tide taking them towards the north they could have been heading for greater danger. We connected our own towline and brought the boat safely into the mooring at Hamilton Dock.
All in all this was a relatively busy period for the crew but with the satisfaction of knowing it was a job well done.
Key facts about the RNLI
The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates over 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.