Exmouth RNLI volunteers were tasked to two separate emergencies on bank holiday Monday, 28th August 2023.
At 1.18pm, the crew of Exmouth RNLI all weather lifeboat 13-03 R & J Welburn were tasked by H.M. Coastguard to assist their RNLI colleagues from Weymouth and Swanage in the search for an overdue diver 5 miles south of Portland Bill.
The volunteers launched at 1.39pm and made best speed to the last known location of the diver. The lifeboat, commanded by Coxswain Steve Hockings-Thompson, with crew Guy Munnings, Tim Barnes, Roger Moore, Geoff Mills and James Searle were on scene about an hour later and commenced a search of the area. They assisted Weymouth RNLI all weather lifeboat 17-32 Ernest & Mabel, Swanage RNLI all weather lifeboat 13-13 George Thomas Lacy and an H.M. Coastguard Helicopter, Rescue 187.
The lifesavers conducted a co-ordinated search until 3.45pm when H.M. Coastguard stood them down from the search and they returned to Exmouth.
Then at 3.38pm H.M. Coastguard requested the launch of Exmouth inshore lifeboat D-805 George Bearman II following a report of 4 persons on two paddleboards in distress having been washed out to sea off the River Otter at Budleigh Salterton.
The lifeboat launched at 3.50pm crewed by Exmouth RNLI volunteers Mark Cockman, Dougie Wright and Roy Stott and made their way straight to the last known location of the paddleboarders. They located the individuals soon afterwards at 4.01pm about 600 metres offshore, took all four on board the lifeboat and conveyed them safely to shore at Budleigh Salterton where they were spoken to by an H.M. Coastguard Rescue Team. The group had no safety equipment or means of calling for assistance and fortunately none of them were injured or required medical attention.
Both launches were authorised by Exmouth RNLI Deputy Launch Authority, Rick Newcombe. Shorecrew were Head Launcher, Neil Cannon, Tractor Driver Robert Thompson and crew Ed Thomas, Dougie Wright, Roger Jackson, Dave Cockman and Henry Thomas.
Both lifeboats were back on station and ready for service shortly after returning.
RNLI advice on paddleboarding can be found here : https://rnli.org/safety/choose-your-activity/stand-up-paddle-boarding
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