RNLI Blyth’s Atlantic 75 inshore lifeboat was diverted from exercise to stand by whilst Cullercoats Atlantic 85 lifeboat responded to reports of 4 person in the water unable to make it back to shore on the north side of St Mary’s island, Whitley Bay.
The call was confirmed as a false alarm with good intent as the group in the water turned out to be a regular snorkelers in the area.
Tynemouth Volunteer Life Brigade and Blyth’s D Class inshore lifeboat also attended.
Both of Blyth’s inshore lifeboats were called out today after a local fishing boat became grounded on rocks just to the north of Blyth.
A 28 foot coble White Heather, with three persons on-board, called Humber Coastguard for assistance after they became stranded on the rocks behind Blyth’s east pier.
Both the newly operational Atlantic 75 and the stations existing D Class inshore lifeboat attended the incident, The larger Atlantic 75 lifeboat with three volunteer crew on-board was first on scene but could not get close enough to establish a tow so the D Class inshore lifeboat with its shallower draft was able to get a tow rope across and the White Heather was pulled clear of the rocks.
A lifeboat crewman was placed on the casualty vessel to ensure the crew’s safety during the tow back to the River Blyth.
Blyth coastguards and the Tynemouth Volunteer Life Brigade were also in attendance at the incident.
Blyth lifeboat rescue. Picture by John Tuttiett Photography
Today some of the Crew had the pleasure of meeting HRH Sophie Countess of Wessex as she visited #Blyth and the Tall Ship Project. She spent time talking to us and took an interest in what roles we all played at the Station and said “Thank You” for work that we do in saving lives at sea #RNLI
A second RNLI inshore lifeboat has gone into service at Blyth, Northumberland today following three months of intense training and familiarisation for the volunteer crew.
The B class Atlantic 75 lifeboat, the Vic and Billy Whiffen, has been stationed at Blyth for a two year trial by the charity, to evaluate whether or not it will enhance the lifeboat cover already provided in the area. It will operate alongside the station’s current D class inshore lifeboat.
The Vic and Billy Whiffen was first stationed at Southend-on-Sea from 2001 and while based there launched 651 times, rescuing 741 people. It then went into the RNLI relief fleet, serving at lifeboat stations when their own vessel was being serviced or repaired.
John Scott, Blyth RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager, said the crew have worked very hard for the past three months to make sure they are able to operate the new lifeboat as safely and effectively as possible.
He said: ‘The Atlantic is much larger and faster than the D class, with two engines, and so the crew have had to devote many hours to training and familiarising themselves with the new lifeboat. They have shown a huge amount of commitment to ensuring that we can get the lifeboat on service ready for the busy summer period.’
The new lifeboat has already been involved in two operational call-outs, when the crew were at sea on training exercises and were asked to help search for a kayaker thought to be in difficulty and on a separate occasion when concerns were raised over a group of surfers in the fog.
RNLI Divisional Operations Manager, Andrew Ashton, said Blyth, with its deep-water harbour, is well located to meet an expected increase in demand from sports, recreational and leisure marine users in the area while the development of the Blyth waterfront and harbour area may generate additional beach and coastal incidents.
He added: ‘The RNLI has to continually adapt its service to meet the changing demands of sea users and coastal visitors, and to match that demand with recent improvements to the speed and efficiency of the various classes of lifeboat.
‘The Atlantic 75 will operate alongside Blyth’s D class for two years, during which time RNLI divisional staff will monitor its operational performance and activity. They will also look at factors including launch and recovery arrangements, crewing and the effect on lifeboat operations in the wider area before a decision is made on whether it will be established as a permanent station lifeboat.’
The Atlantic 75 is almost 7.5 metres long and has a top speed of 32 knots. The Atlantic 75 lifeboat is being gradually superseded by the Atlantic 85, which was first introduced to the RNLI fleet in 2005 and is larger and faster than its predecessor. For more information go to: http://bit.ly/14SKxGq
The RNLI’s national fundraising event, Mayday, runs from 26 April – 2 May. For more information, go to: rnli.org.uk/mayday
Whilst already out training in foggy conditions the stations D Class lifeboat was requested to search close to shore in the north end of Blyth Bay as a 999 caller had reported losing sight of a group of three surfers in thick fog.
The lifeboat with three volunteer crew on-board commenced a search of the area and quickly located the three surfers and confirmed they were all well and not in any distress.
Also assisting with the search was the B Class Lifeboat B776 which is carry out crew training at Blyth.
A brand new TV series called Saving Lives at Sea is set to air soon on BBC One all about the
Royal National Lifeboat Institution’s volunteer lifeboat crew. Filmed over the course of several
months at seven different lifeboat stations across the UK, the series portrays what life is like
for those volunteers who must be ready at any time of day or night to help someone in trouble
at sea or on the River Thames.
Stations included in the filming are Blackpool, Torbay, Tower, Oban, Newquay, Eastbourne
and Brighton, whose volunteers have over the past year allowed specialist cameras and
equipment onto their lifeboats and welcomed film makers into their stations.
The series is a moving, real-life snapshot of the work that over 4,700 RNLI volunteers are
prepared to do 24-hours a day at over 230 lifeboat stations around the waters of the UK and
Ireland. The audience will follow real-life rescue situations from the perspective of a lifeboat
crew member, understand the importance of community and family support to lifeboat
volunteers and the poignant reasons behind why people from all walks of life volunteer to put
their lives on the line to save others.
Volunteer crew member Elissa Thursfield from Abersoch Lifeboat Station, who features in the
series said: ‘It’s great to have been involved in this project and I’m really proud that our station
is included. I hope that people who watch it will get a little more understanding about what
RNLI volunteers do and why they do it.
‘The whole Abersoch crew are looking forward to watching the series and giving viewers a
small insight into what we do.’
The series forms part of a special volunteering season by the BBC called Do Something
Leesa Harwood, Community Lifesaving and Fundraising Director says: ‘We’re excited and
proud to be involved in the BBC’s Do Something Great season and to have the opportunity to
showcase the work of our courageous volunteers on BBC One.
Last year alone our courageous lifeboat crews rescued almost 8,000 people and saved 348
lives, while over 20,000 people across the UK and Ireland volunteer their time to raise the
funds that enable our crews to continue their lifesaving work.
We hope that lots of people tune in, enjoy the series and learn more about our lifesaving
Saving Lives at Sea will be shown on BBC One later this spring.