Both of Clacton RNLI’s Lifeboats launched in multi-agency search
The volunteers of Clacton RNLI launched their two inshore lifeboats in a multi-agency search after reports of a kite surfer in difficulty were received by UK Coastguard.
At midday on July 30, at the request of UK Coastguard, the volunteers of Clacton RNLI launched their Atlantic inshore class lifeboat, David Porter MPS, shortly followed by their D class inshore lifeboat, Arthur Hamilton, to a report of a surfer being in trouble off Point Clear.
On launching into rough conditions Tim Sutton, helmsman of the Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat requested the assistance of the coastguard helicopter due to the difficult conditions that the search would have to be conducted in.
After a thorough search of area from sea, air, and land by the emergency agencies involved, nothing was found except two body boards tied to a buoy, and a pair of balloons caught in a clump of seaweed.
A gentleman was spotted on the shore in a wetsuit, who the crew of the D class lifeboat spoke to. He confirmed that he and three others had been out, but they were now safely ashore. He also reported seeing no one else out on the water.
After further questioning of the first informant it was believed that due to their position, the buoy behind the body boards was mistaken to be a head. A false alarm with good intent.
Tim Sutton said: ‘On this occasion it appears to have been a false alarm with good intent. We would always ask people to report anything untoward to the Coastguard, even if they were not sure. We would rather be called out to a false alarm with good intent than not at all when someone needs our help.’ Tim went on to say: ‘The balloons attached to the seaweed had us going until we were nearly on top of it.’
Both lifeboats were stood down to return to station where the Atlantic inshore lifeboat had to perform a net recovery due to the rough conditions. This is where a catch net is strung across the trailer and the lifeboat goes in front first, and is trapped between the net and a pair of arrester lines attached by the crew when the lifeboat enters the trailer.
Both lifeboats were recovered and ready for service again by 3pm.
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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.