Both Swanage lifeboats at sea for more than four hours

Lifeboats News Release

On Saturday morning, when many people around the world were preparing to watch the royal wedding, both Swanage lifeboats were launched to help a multi-agency search for a missing person.

Swanage inshore lifeboat searching the Jurassic coast in foggy conditions

RNLI/Gavin Steeden

Swanage inshore lifeboat searching the cliffs in foggy conditions

The Swanage lifeboats were tasked to search from Peveril Point to Dancing Ledge. In poor conditions, due to a heavy sea fog, a slow, detailed search was carried out of the shoreline. When the search was completed, with nothing found, the lifeboats were requested to carry out a further search from the north side of Old Harry to Swanage.

Inshore lifeboat helmsman Matt Steeden said “the dense fog made searching conditions more challenging, but the clear, calm waters enabled us to carry out a very close shoreline search and to put crew ashore to search areas not visible from the water.”

As the lifeboats rounded Old Harry a request was made for assistance to evacuate a casualty from Chapmans Pool. The all-weather lifeboat left the scene to attend the new tasking whilst the inshore lifeboat completed the search of the cliffs and Swanage Bay before returning to station, reporting nothing found.

The casualty had been taken ill on the beach at Chapmans Pool and HM Coastguard were planning an evacuation with HM St Alban Coastguard and HM Coastguard Helicopter, Rescue 175, also requested to assist. The all-weather lifeboat placed two crew on shore to help HM St Albans Coastguards assess the casualty who were joined by the Rescue 175 winchman after the aircraft landed on the ridge top.

Due to the poor visibility it was decided that it would be safest to remove the casualty by sea and the Swanage inshore lifeboat was re-launched to attend the incident to permit transfer of the casualty from the shore to the all-weather lifeboat. The inshore lifeboat then returned to the Swanage Lifeboat Station station after four hours at sea, whilst the all-weather lifeboat took the casualty by sea to an ambulance at the ferry steps, Sandbanks. With the casualty now in the hands of the ambulance service, the Swanage all-weather lifeboat was able to return to station after nearly five hours at sea.

The volunteer lifeboat crew were pleased to learn later in the day that the missing person had been found safe and well.

RNLI media contacts

For more information please telephone Becky Mack, Swanage RNLI Volunteer Press Officer on 07812 558487 or at

RNLI online

For more information on the RNLI please visit News releases and other media resources, including RSS feeds, downloadable photos and video, are available at the RNLI Press Centre

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.

Learn more about the RNLI

For more information please visit the RNLI website or Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. News releases, videos and photos are available on the News Centre.

Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or or by email.