Byline: Volunteer crew from Harwich as well as Walton and Frinton lifeboat stations have joined a search for two people reported missing from a ferry off Harwich.
Page Content: Harwich’s all-weather and inshore lifeboats, along with the all-weather lifeboat from Walton and Frinton were launched just before 10am this morning (26 February). They joined Coastguard teams, an RAF Search and Rescue Helicopter and harbour vessels to search the area.


Byline: Port Talbot RNLI lifeboat was called at 0205 after a person was reported in the sea off Aberavon beach.
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Port Talbot lifeboat was tasked to a report of a person in the sea close to the entrance of the River Neath. South Wales Police were already on scene and trying to apprehend the male person who was in a state of distress. The sea was on high tide and swells of two metres were breaking on the slipway which made the launching quite tricky. When the lifeboat arrived on scene the police had recovered the person from the water and he was safely in their custody.

Port Talbot Coastguard and the police helicopter were also involved in the incident. Once it was established that the incident hade been resolved, the lifeboat returned to station.





Byline: During National Apprenticeship Week 3–7 March 2014 the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) is announcing a new engineering apprenticeship programme that will offer six new places year on year.
Page Content: This will lead to a 24-strong apprenticeship programme annually by 2018 – doubling* the current numbers.

The sought after apprenticeship roles will help to provide the specialist skills the charity needs as it brings all-weather lifeboat production and maintenance in-house for the first time at the charity’s new All-weather Lifeboat Centre (ALC) in Poole, Dorset.

The ALC will be the first facility of its kind in the UK, aiming to be a world-class centre of engineering excellence. It is currently being built and is due to open at the end of this year. Once appointed, the six new recruits will start in September on the four year programme. They will be playing a part in lifeboat manufacturing and maintenance, providing the best possible lifeboats to help protect the charity’s volunteer crew when they risk their lives to save others at sea. The move is timely for several reasons:

• With high youth unemployment**, apprenticeships provide a vital way of equipping young people with the skills they need to achieve employment. RNLI apprenticeships will create new employment opportunities available to those aged 16 or over and will contribute to industry by increasing engineering and boat building skills within the workforce for future generations.

• Against a backdrop of predicted skills shortages, particularly in areas like engineering, apprenticeships will be essential for the RNLI in recruiting and nurturing specialist talent to help the charity build and maintain the next generation of lifeboats at the new ALC.

• According to research, engineering careers are seen as less attractive or uncreative by many young people***. The RNLI is aiming to inspire them to consider a career in marine engineering as the apprentices will get to work within the charity’s new state-of-the-art facility and experience first-hand what it is like to be part of a team using the latest technology to push the boundaries and improve lifesaving at sea. RNLI apprentices will learn from the best in the industry, drawing from knowledge built up over centuries by a charity that has always been at the forefront of lifeboat design. The apprentices will be helping to build the most advanced lifeboats that will go on to play a vital role in saving many lives.

Dorset-based Courtney Mitchell, aged 20, RNLI Apprentice Marine Engineer and in his second year of the charity’s current programme said: ‘I’ve learnt a lot so far on the programme, everything from stripping down engines to boat hull fit outs. It’s been really worthwhile. After I finish the apprenticeship, I would like to go on to become a fully qualified lifeboat maintenance technician with the RNLI, and work my way up from there. It’s great to see the RNLI’s All-weather Lifeboat Centre developing; it’s going to be an amazing facility and I definitely plan to apply for a job there.

‘The best thing about working at the RNLI is knowing that the lifeboats you are working on save lives at sea. I often think about that while I’m working, and I’m proud to be one of the people helping to keep them in good working order for the volunteer crew.’

The RNLI has been running an apprenticeship programme for 15 years and is already experienced in training young people in marine electronics and marine mechanical engineering. Future skills will include mechanical, electronic and electrical engineering and composite laminating. Expanding the apprenticeship programme for the new All-weather Lifeboat Centre is the first step in establishing a wider apprenticeship, traineeship and work experience programme for the whole charity.

To find out more about RNLI apprenticeships, visit

*From 2014 the RNLI will have boosted its apprenticeship numbers from an average of three per year (over the last five years) to 6 per year (as each apprenticeship lasts 4 years that give a 24-strong programme of apprentices annually by 2018. This means in-take will increase by 100% in preparation for the ALC becoming fully operational in 2019.

** Figures from the Office for National Statistics (October 2013) show 115,000 18 to 24-year-olds have been unemployed for longer than two years. Also, according to Labour Force Survey statistics 282,000 under-25s have been jobless for a year or more – the highest level since 1993. The number of people under 25 without a job for a year or more went from 266,000 in 2012 to 282,000 in September 2013.

*** Research was undertaken by Vision Critical on behalf of Tomorrow’s Engineers Week. The poll of 1000 children aged 11-14 years old and 1000 parents of children aged 11-14 years old based in England and Wales was conducted between 18th and 24th October 2013.

Notes to editors
• The RNLI apprenticeship roles will include marine electronics engineers and mechanical engineers. RNLI apprentices benefit from ‘earning while they are learning,’ with their college fees covered by Government funding if they are between 16 to 18 year olds and 19 to 24 year olds receive 50 per cent of government funding with the remainder made up by the employer.
• In addition to gaining essential career and life skills, apprentices receive a formal qualification fully recognised within the marine sector and on-going training and mentoring on the job.
• To qualify for the programme candidates will need to demonstrate an interest in a career in a marine environment, a willingness to learn, good team-working skills and GCSEs grade C in English and Maths.

RNLI media contacts
For more information, contact Pamela Saunders, RNLI Public Relations Officer, on 01202 336260 / or Roselyne Crowther on 01202 662218 / or RNLI Public Relations on 01202 336789.


Byline: The widow of Mr. John Stuart Cooke, a local funeral director from the nearby village of Bodelwyddan, called to Rhyl RNLI station recently to present a generous donation to Rhyl station volunteers.
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Mr. Cooke’s widow, Jean; together with her daughter Jenny and accompanied by her grandchildren Seth and Elijah; visited the Rhyl boathouse to present cheques and money, raised in memory of her late husband.

 Mr. Cooke had been a long-time supporter of the RNLI and other local charities.

The money was accepted by Acting Coxswain Paul Frost, together with Acting mechanic Vinny Jones, and lifeboat station visits officer Derek Denton. After the presentation, the party were given a guided tour of the boathouse by Derek. The money donated will be used to help maintain Rhyl RNLI lifeboat station, and also help towards training the 27 volunteers on station.

Paul Frost, also Rhyl RNLI station’s volunteer Press officer says ” The volunteers of Rhyl RNLI are really grateful to Mrs. Cooke and her family for the kind donation in memory of her late husband. The charity relies on these and other legacies to keep our boats afloat, and these donations accounts for a large percentage of the RNLI’s annual income”.

 The attached picture shows (L-R)  Acting Mechanic Vinny Jones; Daughter Jean; Acting Coxswain Paul Frost; Jenny Cooke; and Lifeboat visits officer Derek Denton. In front are Jean’s grandchildren Seth and Elijah.


Byline: Fifteen Welsh RNLI Flood Rescue Team volunteers returned home last night (Wednesday) from Somerset after assisting other emergency services in the flood relief effort.
Page Content: The specialist Flood Rescue Team volunteers travelled to Somerset on Saturday to work alongside the Fire and Rescue Service, Avon and Somerset Police and other emergency services to assist flood-hit communities.  Over the four day deployment, the RNLI volunteers transported food and medicine as well as offering advice, reassurance and support to those affected by the floods.

Traditionally, the Flood Rescue Team are called upon to assist in search and rescue during a flood incident, however, given the unprecedented size and scale of this incident and the anticipated duration, the charity assisted those communities affected in a ‘relief’ role, alongside other emergency services.

Simon Bunting, RNLI Flood Rescue Team member said:

‘The RNLI Flood Rescue Team were glad to be asked to work alongside the Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service to try and help those communities that have been affected by flooding in Somerset.’

This is the third time in three months that the team have been deployed to assist communities affected by flooding.

RNLI volunteers who assisted in the flood deployment to Somerset were from Beaumaris, Aberystwyth, Angle, Horton and Port Eynon, the Mumbles, Porthcawl, Penarth, Barry Dock as well as RNLI staff based at St Asaph and Haverfordwest.

Notes to editor
Attached are photos taken by the RNLI Flood Rescue Team during the four day deployment.
Footage from the deployment is available to download.
Credit: RNLI

RNLI media contact
For more information contact Eleri Roberts, RNLI Press Officer on 01745 585162 / 07771 941390 or email


Byline: At 1855 hours on Monday 17th February 2014 Belfast Coastguard contacted Helensburgh RNLI Lifeboat after receiving several calls from members of the public.
Page Content: They had reported sightings of a possible red flare in the vicinity of Dumbarton Castle at the mouth of the River Leven. After launching the lifeboat proceeded to Dumbarton where, along with two police boats, coastguard teams and a rescue helicopter, a thorough search of the area from Cardross up to Bowling Harbour was conducted.  Nothing untoward was found.  At 2026 hours it was concluded that the flare had been fired from shore; all units were asked to stand down and return to base.  At 2116 hours the lifeboat was back on station and ready for service again.


Byline: Volunteer crew members with the RNLI gave the Secretary of State for Scotland a quick tour of their lifeboat today. (Wed 19 Feb)
Page Content:

Alistair Carmichael visited Oban Lifeboat Station where he met with crew and station management.

He was shown around the Trent lifeboat, the Mora Edith MacDonald, and he was also presented with a book detailing the history of the station by the author, Willie Melville, a former crewman.

Alistair said: ‘It was a great pleasure to meet the team at RNLI Oban today.  I can never fail to be amazed and humbled by the phenomenal work and immense sacrifices made by the volunteers and staff of the RNLI.

‘Over the past 190 years the RNLI have been ever present keeping us safe around Britain’s coastal communities and striving to end preventable loss of life at sea.

‘Having been born and raised on Islay and having represented the island communities of Orkney and Shetland for many years I have a deep rooted admiration and affection for the RNLI and I know that across Scotland their selfless dedication will never be taken for granted.’

Billy Forteith, Oban’s Lifeboat Operations Manager, said: ‘We were delighted to welcome the MP and give him the opportunity to learn more about the RNLI at Oban, a charity which is close to his heart.’

The Secretary of State is taking part in a tour of the Scottish west coast during recess, this is when he is able to travel around Scotland and he isn’t tied to parliamentary business.

The aim for the tours is to meet as many people as possible across the country and Oban was the location for an RNLI visit and meetings with local businesses.

RNLI media contacts:

Richard Smith, RNLI Public Relations Manager for Scotland, 01738 642956, 07786 668903,

Henry Weaver, RNLI Press Officer for Scotland, 01738 642986, 07771 943026,



Byline: The first of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution’s (RNLI) newest class of lifeboat – the Shannon – has arrived at Dungeness lifeboat station in Kent today (Friday 21 February).
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The Shannon is the RNLI’s first all-weather lifeboat to be powered by water jets rather than traditional propellers, making it the most agile and manoeuvrable all-weather lifeboat to enter the charity’s fleet.

The lifeboat – named The Morrell – arrived at Dungeness lifeboat station today at 1pm, and was greeted on the beach by a crowd of people, including RNLI crew members, volunteers and staff, their friends and families, supporters of the charity and members of the public.

Capable of 25 knots, the Shannon is 50% faster than the lifeboats it will replace – meaning casualties will be reached quicker. The increased manoeuvrability may be vital when precision really matters, such as operating alongside a stricken vessel or navigating around hazards. The use of water jets also allows the volunteer crews to operate the lifeboat in shallower waters, increasing the areas which the lifeboat can reach.

Stuart Adams, Dungeness lifeboat station coxswain, was on board The Morrell as it arrived at Dungeness today. He said: ‘We are all delighted to have received our Shannon class lifeboat here at Dungeness.

‘This lifeboat is faster and so much more agile than our old Mersey class lifeboat – although she’s served us well over the years. It will help us reach those in trouble at sea quicker and its incredible manoeuvrability will be a real asset when we’re out at sea carrying out rescues in all weathers.

‘The Shannon is unlike any lifeboat I’ve ever known. It has taken lifeboating to the next level and will, without doubt, help us save lives at sea.’

RNLI Chief Executive, Paul Boissier, said: ‘We are thrilled that our first Shannon class lifeboat has now arrived at a lifeboat station and will soon be ready to save lives at sea. The Shannon is a fantastic lifesaving vessel which is capable of carrying out rescues in the most demanding sea conditions, while maintaining the safety of our volunteer crews.

‘We plan to produce at least 50 Shannon lifeboats over the next decade. Once the roll out of the Shannon class is complete, the RNLI will have achieved its aim of providing an entire fleet capable of operating at up to 25 knots around the coasts of the UK and Ireland.’

David Brook, RNLI Engineering and Supply Director, said: ‘The design and features of the Shannon have been developed with the safety and welfare of our volunteer crews as a key priority.

‘The lifeboat’s unique hull, designed in-house by RNLI naval architects, has been produced to minimise slamming of the boat in heavy seas. The specially designed shock-absorbing seats further protect the volunteer crews from impact when powering through the waves while on a rescue.

‘A specially designed Launch and Recovery System has been produced in conjunction with Supacat for beach-launched Shannon class lifeboats, such as The Morrell at Dungeness. It operates as a mobile slipway, which solves the unique challenge of transporting, launching and recovering the 18-tonne Shannon over some of Britain’s most demanding beaches.

‘The Shannon’s Launch and Recovery System allows a faster and safer launch and recovery compared with the Mersey system. This means that casualties can be reached sooner and our volunteer launching crews are better protected.’

Dungeness’ Shannon class lifeboat, The Morrell, and its Launch and Recovery System were entirely funded by an extremely generous legacy left by Mrs Barbara Morrell, from Bromley in Kent. The lifeboat has been named in memory of Mrs Morrell, her late husband Stanley, her brother-in-law Cyril and her sister-in-law Patricia.

Jackie Simmons was a close friend of Mrs Morrell, who passed away in 2009 aged 95, and was an executor of her will. Jackie said: ‘Barbara supported the RNLI in many different ways, including attending local events and collecting donations.

‘Having The Morrell arrive at Dungeness today is a great and generous achievement on her part, and it has fulfilled a lifelong dream. She supported the RNLI so keenly because she admired how ordinary people put themselves in danger to save others.’

The RNLI will build at least 50 new Shannon class lifeboats over the next ten years, with this class of lifeboat replacing both a selection of Mersey and Tyne class lifeboats, which are now nearing the end of their planned 25-year lifespan.

The Shannon class lifeboat costs £2M, with the Launch and Recovery System costing a further £1.5M. In its lifetime, the Shannon class is expected to rescue over 56,000 people and save more than 1,500 lives.

The crew at Dungeness will carry out further training on The Morrell – having completed two weeks of training on the Shannon at RNLI HQ in Poole earlier this month – before the lifeboat is due to go operational in early March.

RNLI media contacts
For more information please contact Luke Blissett, Public Relations Officer, on 07836 511633 or Tim Ash, Public Relations Manager for East of England, on 07785 296252. Alternatively, call the RNLI Press Office on 01202 336789 or email


Byline: Ramsgate RNLI’s volunteer lifeboat crew were called out at 10.38pm on Tuesday, 18th. February when the launch of the all weather lifeboat was requested to assist a local trawler.
Page Content: The 10m. trawler was 9 miles off the coast near the Thanet Wind Farm where the crew of 3 had been unable to release the boat’s propeller which had become fouled.  The vessel and it’s crew were safely towed by the lifeboat back to Ramsgate Harbour.

RNLI media contacts
• John Ray, Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer (Ramsgate Lifeboat)
07759 480825 /
• Tim Ash, RNLI Public Relations Manager (London/East/South East)
0207 6207426 / 07785 296252 /
• James Oxley, RNLI Press Officer (London/South East/East)
0207 6207425 / 07786 668825 /
• For enquiries outside normal business hours, contact the RNLI duty press officer on 01202 33678.


Byline: On the 20 February 1914 fourteen volunteer lifeboat crew with Fethard RNLI set out to rescue the crew of the Norwegian Schooner the Mexico, which had lost its bearings in terrible weather and had been driven onto rocks at Keeragh Island off Wexford.
Page Content: February 2014

RNLI to mark centenary of Fethard lifeboat tragedy where nine volunteer lifeboat crew lost their lives and Wexford lifeboat crews rescued ten people

On the 20 February 1914 fourteen volunteer lifeboat crew with Fethard RNLI set out to rescue the crew of the Norwegian Schooner the Mexico, which had lost its bearings in terrible weather and had been driven onto rocks at Keeragh Island off Fethard-on-Sea in Wexford. Of the fourteen lifeboat crew that set off in the Helen Blake lifeboat only five were to survive.  What followed was a three day rescue attempt involving lifeboats from Kilmore Quay, Dunmore East and Rosslare Fort along with a local tug boat.  Members of the local community watched the unfolding drama from the shore and waited three days until the surviving ten men were brought safely home. 

A hundred years later members of the RNLI in Fethard and Rosslare have planned a weekend of events to commemorate the loss of the nine lifeboat crew and to acknowledge the incredible rescue efforts by the volunteer crews from four lifeboat stations who rescued ten people.

The culmination of these events will be a gathering of lifeboats from Fethard, Rosslare, Dunmore East and Kilmore Quay in Fethard Bay at 10.30am on Saturday 22 February for a wreath laying service at Keeragh Islands, followed by a memorial service at the lifeboat monument in Fethard-On-Sea at 2.30pm.

Other activity planned over the weekend includes a lecture from local historian Liam Ryan in St. Mary’s Hall, Fethard and a special concert by Wexford Sinfonia with new music composed by Liam Bates to mark the event and held in Wexford County Hall this Saturday at 8pm.  A wreath laying service will also be held at the monument at Rosslare Burrow, Rosslare Strand on Sunday 23 February at 3pm.

On the afternoon of 20 February 1914 when the Fethard lifeboat launched to go to the aid of the Mexico, a huge wave struck the lifeboat and filled it with water.  More waves followed and the lifeboat was dashed against the rocks and smashed to pieces.  Nine lifeboat crew were drowned and the remaining five made it onto the Keeragh island and assisted the eight crew of the Mexico in leaving their wreck, which had struck the island.  Here they remained together for three days enduring numerous rescue attempts by neighbouring lifeboats and a local tug in terrible storms.

On the Monday two of the survivors were rescued by the Dunmore East lifeboat and ten by the Rosslare Fort lifeboat and the tug boat, Wexford. A crewmember from the Mexico succumbed to his injuries and died on the island.

The Fethard lifeboat crew who lost their lives were the Coxswain, Christopher Bird, Michael Handrick, Patrick Stafford, William Bird, Thomas Handrick, Patrick Roche, Patrick Cullen, James Morrissey and William Banville. Richard Bird survived but died two years later from injuries he had received. The survivors were John McNamara, George Crumpton, Garrett Handrick and John Kelly.

Today eight of the volunteer lifeboat crew at Fethard RNLI are descendants of the Fethard lifeboat crew from 1914.  They are sisters Emily and Nuala Carroll descendants of Patrick Cullen; Michael Roche, descendent of Patrick Roche; Eoin Bird, descendent of Christopher and Richard Bird; father and son Thomas and Dylan Nolan, descendants of John McNamara and Eileen Murphy and Mairead Foley, descendants of Patrick Cullen.

The relatives will all be involved with the commemoration which will include the Fethard RNLI inshore lifeboat along with Rosslare, Dunmore East and Kilmore Quay lifeboats, launching on Saturday to lay wreaths where the lifeboat crew lost their lives a hundred years ago.

Commenting on the anniversary and the plans to commemorate the tragedy Fethard RNLI lifeboat helm Eoin Bird said, “The story of the Mexico tragedy would not be that well known outside the local community but there are many relatives of the men that lost their lives still living here and who have been brought up on stories of the Mexico and who are very proud of their ancestors. 

It is hard for us to imagine what they must have gone through at that time.  Today our lifeboat crews have state of the art equipment and kit. Those lifeboat men rowed out to the island with their only thought being to save the lives of that crew. I am very proud to be a descendent and to be a lifeboat man today.’

Rosslare lifeboat man Fergus Wickham, a retired RNLI Coxswain and grandson of Edward Wickham, Second Coxswain on the Rosslare Fort lifeboat during that time and great nephew of Coxswain James Wickham, is also proud of the lifeboat crew who carried on and rescued the survivors, “It must have been extremely difficult for them both mentally and physically.  On the one hand they knew nine of their fellow lifeboat crew had drowned but they also knew they had to save the remaining men on the island who had no shelter or sustenance.  They put aside their thoughts for the men who had lost their lives and heroically battled through terrible conditions to carry out an incredible rescue.’

*The laying of wreaths at Keeragh Island by the four RNLI lifeboats from Fethard, Rosslare, Dunmore East and Kilmore Quay is dependent on weather conditions on the day and operational duty.

Notes for Editor
Photographs from the time of the lifeboat crew and survivors are available. 
Photographs from the event in Fethard will be available taken by Patrick Browne

RNLI media contacts
For more information please contact Niamh Stephenson RNLI Public Relations Manager Tel: 087 1254 124 / 01 8900 460 email or Nuala McAloon RNLI Press Officer Tel: 087 6483547

RNLI online
For more information on the RNLI please visit  News releases and other media resources, including RSS feeds, downloadable photos and video, are available at the RNLI Press Centre

Key facts about the RNLI
The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the Ireland and the UK. The RNLI operates over 230 lifeboat stations with 43 in Ireland. The RNLI is independent of the Coast Guard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824 its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 137,000 lives. The RNLI is a charity registered in England, Scotland and the Republic of Ireland.
Charity number CHY 2678 in the Republic of Ireland and registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SCO37736)