Monday, 19 June 2017
Traditionally Weston RNLI station is on standby throughout the weekend of Air Days in case we are needed, even though we are not part of the event itself. This year we were busy with six shouts plus greeting visitors and moving vessels holding up the display.
Each year a major Air Show is held on Weston-super-Mare Beach. It attracts many thousands of visitors who come to watch such displays as the Red Arrows, the battle of Britain Memorial flight and many more. The RNLI is not asked to be part of the show but the volunteers on the station have always maintained a standby watch in case they are needed.
The week-end started before the displays on the Beach Lawns when the lifeboat was launched due to a person standing in the mud with the tide rushing in. She had ignored warnings from the beach Rangers. When she saw the lifeboat she turned and reached the beach safely. This was typical of many of the calls that week-end.
There were reports of swimmers entering the sea and not returning, people despite all the warnings trying to access the derelict Birnbeck Island, people stuck in the mud etc. In each case searches were conducted in conjunction with Weston Coastguard and the BARB hovercraft which had come over from Burnham for the weekend.
The Sunday started in a similar vein. After an early morning shout the station was visited by the Bath Classic Motorcycle Club. About 20 vintage motorcycles surrounded the temporary station and the Club presented a cheque for £620. The club have been visiting RNLI stations for over 20 years but this was the first time to Weston.
Mike Buckland, Helm Weston RNLI said: ’We can only carry out our role of saving lives at sea thanks to the generosity of people like you the Batch Classic Motorcycle club. Thank you very much indeed.’
Various incidents followed. A person was reported trying to access Birnbeck Island. Both the BARB hovercraft and our D Class lifeboat were tasked. The hovercraft became stuck on the mud at the corner of Marine Lake but, as the lifeboat proceeded to the Pier, the man was seen returning to the shore. On another occasion the hovercraft was tasked to two men stuck in the mud at Sand Bay. They loaded the hovercraft onto their trailer drove around while the Weston lifeboat sailed around and stood by. They lifeboat crew were prepared to wade over to pick up the casualties but the hovercraft arrived and picked them up. It did not have room for all on board so two coastguards were left behind with the lifeboat. The Station also acted as a first aid venue with seven minor injuries dealt with.
On one occasion, just before the Sunday Red Arrows display various large yachts and motor cruisers came close inshore into the exclusion zone designed to keep the public safe. The lifeboats were tasked to drive these boats away so the display could take place.
Richard Spindler, Lifeboat Operations Manager at Weston said;’ This was one of the busiest week-ends for some time. It was good working with our colleagues in the other rescue services and we are pleased that no one came to significant harm.’
RNLI notes to editors
RNLI media contacts
For further information, please contact Weston-super-Mare RNLI Lifeboat Press Officer Glyn Hayes on 01934 645555 or Chris Lyons Deputy RNLI Lifeboat Press Officer on 07825 347697
Lifeboats in service at Weston-super-Mare
Atlantic 75 class Lifeboat named Coventry and Warwickshire
D-Class Lifeboat named Anna Stock
The station was established in 1882 at the request of the local inhabitants and moved into its current boathouse in 1902. In 2013 we had to leave our lifeboat station on Birnbeck Island as the access pier had become too dangerous. The temporary station at Knightstone is until we can get a new station built.
To find out more information about Weston-super-Mare lifeboat and for recent events, please log onto our website or contact Glyn Hayes on 01934 645555.