The Weston RNLI Crew were taking part in the annual Lifeboat Pull when their pagers sounded off. A Jet Ski rider in Weston Bay had engine problems and was drifting dangerously.
Bank Holiday Monday was the time of the Weston-super-Mare RNLI Lifeboat Pull. This is an annual event when a lifeboat is towed by crew members and fund raisers along the promenade. The Pull starts at the Lifeboat Shop at Anchor Head and continues past the Grand Pier to the Tropicana. It then returns to Anchor Head with collection being made at all times. This is a joint venture between the volunteers of both the crew and fund raising branch. The crew wear their full sea going kit. This encourages the public to donate more money and means the crew get very warm on a hot day!
A temporary lifeboat station has had to be established at Knightstone Harbour in Weston when the RNLI had to leave its base on Birnbeck Island after 132 years. This was due to the access Pier becoming dangerous. This meant that there were two lifeboats available for the Pull. The usual demonstration D Class plus the relief D Class housed in the temporary station.
The crew were preparing the relief D Class when Richard Spindler, one of the deputy launching authorities noticed a jet ski had stopped in Weston Bay. He and the crew carried on preparing the lifeboat but kept an eye on the Jet Ski. A friend of the Jet Ski rider was extremely worried and it became apparent that the Jet Ski was still in trouble and was drifting in the strong tides of the Bristol Channel. It was getting near to the rocks when it was decided to launch the lifeboat and the pagers were fired off.
It took only a few minutes to launch the lifeboat down the slipway at Knightstone Harbour and with a very short time they reached the Jet Ski. The rider was taken on board the lifeboat and the Jet Ski towed round to the Harbour. There the rider was helped ashore and he and his friend retrieved the Jet Ski. The lifeboat was then recovered and made ready for the parade.
The Pull was then able to start and it was a great success. The promenade was packed in the Bank Holiday sun and soon the collection buckets were filling up. A grand total of £878 was collected.
Charlotte Conroy, Lifeboat Operations Manager designate said;’ It was fortunate that some of the crew were already at the station so were able to get to the casualty very quickly. The rocks in that area are treacherous with the tide running over them at great speed. We always stress the vital importance of maintaining craft, particularly in the dangerous waters around here.
The result of the collection at the Pull is fantastic and a great credit to the crew and fund raisers plus, of course, the generosity of the public.’