Rescues, birthdays and Swim Safe make for busy year for Manx RNLI lifeboat crews
In 2016, 55 people needed the help of the RNLI’s lifeboat crews across the Isle of Man coastline– so the charity is asking people to think, take more care at the coast and respect the water.
RNLI lifeboats are on hand 24/7 every day of the year. The Island’s five lifeboat stations launched on service a total of 47 times last year compared to 34 launches in 2015. Douglas RNLI was the Island’s busiest lifeboat station as the volunteer crew launched to 22 callouts and rescued 31 people over the year.
The number of callouts for Peel RNLI increased in 2016 as the volunteers launched the all-weather lifeboat 12 times, rescuing 16 people compared to three callouts the previous year. Both Port Erin and Port St Mary lifeboat stations launched four times on service over the course of the year, rescuing seven people between them.
Birthday celebrations kept Ramsey RNLI crew busy in 2016 as their Mersey class lifeboat Ann & James Ritchie celebrated 25 years of service on the Island. The all-weather lifeboat launched on service five times in 2016, one of those being a multi-agency rescue from both sides of the channel.
On the 8 July, Ramsey, Douglas and Barrow RNLI crews launched to assist a yacht whose crew were unwell and had issued a mayday call for help. The yacht was making its way back from the Isle of Man to Fleetwood when its crew had become unwell. The Isle of Man ferry Ben-My-Chree, Captained by Peel RNLI’s relief Coxswain Chris Kelly, heard the call for help and made its way to the scene along with HM Coastguard helicopter.
RNLI volunteer Chris Kelly said at the time: ‘Nobody quite knew their position, so it felt like trying to find a needle in a haystack. Upon making radio contact with the yacht we asked their speed, what time they'd turned around and from where. We used this info to plot a line of longitude on the chart, giving us a very rough idea of where they could have been.’
As the ferry offered some shelter for the yacht from the rough seas, Ramsey’s Mersey class lifeboat transferred a doctor onto the yacht to assess the crew on board. Following the assessment it was decided to stand down the helicopter as Ramsey took the first tow of the yacht, before passing over to the crew of Barrow RNLI who completed the journey back to England.
The RNLI isn’t just about rescuing people when they find themselves in danger – the charity wants to equip people with the knowledge and skills to avoid trouble in the first place and know what to do should they find themselves or others in danger in the water. In August more than 300 kids took part in Swim Safe, a free outdoor water safety programme by the RNLI and ASA which was held at Peel.
Rogan Wheeldon, RNLI Area Lifesaving Manager said: ‘Once again we are extremely grateful for the dedication shown by our lifesavers. The Island’s volunteer lifeboat crews spent over 483 hours at sea last year responding to those in need of help, but we really do see our rescue service as a last resort.
‘We’d like to see people paying more attention to safety messages and giving the water the healthy respect it deserves. While we will always answer the call for help, myself and everyone within the RNLI would like to see people staying safer at the coast.’
‘We’re calling on anyone visiting the coast to make safety a priority; whether that means wearing a lifejacket, checking their vessel before they go afloat, knowing they should call 999 and ask for the Coastguard in the event of an emergency, checking the tide times before they set out, or staying away from cliff edges and unstable coastal paths.’
For more information on how to stay safe on the coast please visit the rnli website on www.rnli.org.uk/respectthewater
Notes to editors
- Follow the link to a free downloadable video of a Wales and West 2017 RNLI compilation rescue video including clips of Manx lifeboat rescues. https://rnli.org/news-and-media/2017/march/27/wales-rnli-rescues-2016. Credit: RNLI
- The attached picture shows Port St Mary RNLI's all-weather Trent class lifeboat. Credit RNLI
RNLI media contacts
For more information please contact Eleri Roberts, RNLI Public Relations Manager on 01745 585162 / 07771 941390 or email Eleri_Roberts@rnli.org.uk. Alternatively contact the RNLI Press Office on 01202 336 789.
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.