Morecambe RNLI crew called out on birthday

Lifeboat crews cut short their 50th birthday celebrations after they were called out to a real-life rescue.

Tuesday, 23rd August 2016, 1:00 pm
Updated Thursday, 25th August 2016, 6:45 pm
RNLI crews during the practice demo at the celebration day at Morecambe Lifeboat station. Picture by Ian Mitchell.

The Morecambe station launched its inshore lifeboat to rescue a man and his catamaran which capsized.

An hour earlier RNLI volunteers and staff were celebrating the station’s golden anniversary while demonstrating a mock rescue to the public and the Mayor of Lancaster Robert Redfern.

Mayor Redfern had to break off his conversation with crews as they rushed out in the wind and rain to help save the man.

He said: “I was talking to staff upstairs and one of their pagers went off and they rushed down, got into a small boat and went out towards Arnside.

“It was nice to see it in live action, how quickly they worked, a real eye opener.

“It was only a small three man boat, they couldn’t get all the equipment out because it was that windy.”

Strong winds of 40mph were considered to be a factor after the man, who later got himself to safety, needed help near Arnside on August 20.

Over the same weekend six people died in seas around Britain.

The deaths were believed to be also caused by strong winds and high tides.

A spokesman at the RNLI said: “After a tragic weekend around our coastline, our thoughts are with the families, volunteer crews, emergency services and everyone involved.”

Morecambe RNLI has since issued advice on how to stay safe in and near the water following the deaths of three men, two women and a young boy across the country.

Crews were also called out the following day, at 2.45pm, after a catamaran and a rescue boat got into difficulties off the coast of Arnside.

The rescue boat and the catamaran were able to free themselves safely.

Meanwhile the open day held at the Hovercraft Station gave the public the opportunity to meet members of the crew, their colleagues from HM Coastguard and the Maritime Volunteer Service.

Lifeboat Operations Manager Kevin Jackson gave a long service award to volunteer fundraiser Tony Martin, in recognition of his dedication to the charity for more than 30 years. Senior Hovercraft Commander, Harry Roberts MBE, also received a 30 year service award at a private ceremony later in the day.

Past lifeboat crew members also attended the celebrations and founder crew member. Keith Willacy, of Morecambe, shared his memories to visitors.