by Sam Hawcroft
A Hornsea Inshore Rescue safety boat that was tasked to keep watch over events at Withernsea’s Blue Light Weekend saved the life of a boy who had drifted out to sea on an inflatable.
The incident happened on Saturday in-between the sea swim races, and did not involve anyone who had been directly participating in any of the organised events.
Hornsea Inshore Rescue chairman Sue Hickson-Marsay MBE said: “The crew in the boat were just relaxing and waiting for the next event when they spotted something orange blowing out to sea.
“They went over to investigate and as they watched it flip over, they saw a child had been thrown out of it. The crew got the dinghy and the child and handed them over to the other Withernsea safety boat. But if we hadn’t have been there, someone could have drowned.”
It marked the start of a busy few days for Hornsea Inshore Rescue, which was called out twice more after that – firstly to another inflatable that was fortunately empty, and then to two women who had been cut off by the tide on the cliffs near Skirlington.
The Withernsea rescue points up the dangers of using inflatables in the sea, Sue added.
“We don’t advocate using them at all because things can go wrong so easily. It was lucky we happened to be there and that it was seen.
“But this is what we’re there for – it’s what we do. Our training kicks in and it makes it all worthwhile.”
Hornsea Inshore Rescue, while an independent charity that is not part of the RNLI, still has close links with it as part of the “sea family” along the east coast.
Sue added: “I’m sure the RNLI would have launched had we not been there. We base our standards on theirs and are hoping to be doing some training with them soon, too.
“It was great to be invited to the Blue Light Weekend and be part of such a great team effort. To be involved was an absolute pleasure for us.”