19 April 2024

‘Proud moment’ as lifeboat called out twice in three days

The lifeboat at RNLI Withernsea was called out to incidents off the town’s coast twice over the past weekend – and one proved to be a “day of firsts” for two crew members.

On Friday night, the crew was paged to launch after multiple 999 calls to the Coastguard about an inflatable kayak that had drifted two miles offshore.

The crew of four headed out to a location near the wind turbines east of Withernsea and quickly located the inflatable, which had two people and a dog on board.

The lifeboat escorted the kayak and crew safely back to shore, and advice was given regarding an incoming squall – powerful winds and heavy rain. HM Coastguard Withernsea was waiting at the beach to meet the people on the kayak.

Then, on Sunday afternoon, the crew were called to assist a small fishing boat that had
broken down and had been towed back to the shore by a local boat. After numerous attempts to land the stricken vessel on the shore it was decided that it was too dangerous because of the swell.

RNLI Withernsea spokesman Tim Beckett said: “The crew received a crew assemble page at 13.43pm on Sunday. This pager message is used to call the crew to station as an incident is occurring that may or may not need the lifeboat to launch. The crew all gathered at the station and awaited further instructions from Humber Coastguard.

“RNLI Withernsea was launched by Humber Coastguard to assist the broken-down boat and land it safely ashore.”

The callout was the first for new crew member James Medcalf, son of Steve Medcalf, the station’s operations manager who died last December – and who inspired the recent Blue Light Weekend on Withernsea’s South Promenade.

Tim added: “We are all very proud of you, James, and I know your dad would be too. This was also trainee helm John Talbot’s first callout as deputy launch authority. Congratulations to you both – you’ve done the station proud.”

James said: “I am honoured to have successfully completed my first job for Withernsea RNLI. To be accompanied by two of my dad’s friends, Tom Ward and Steve Roebuck, was also a proud moment for me.

“The job involved towing a vessel back to shore that had been having some engine trouble – luckily for me, we had been practising towing the previous Wednesday and, thanks to expert coaching from Binhead, I felt confident in myself to get the job done.

“As per any job, the full crew worked together very well, both out at sea and on the shore, which was largely due to the professionalism of John Talbot taking his first job as DLA. A good day for firsts for both John and me.”

Meanwhile, Withernsea Boat Club, which is based next door to Withernsea RNLI in Southcliffe Road, has raised £1,000 for the lifeboat station by holding three charity boat fishing matches this year.

Tim said: “All the crew and management at the station are incredibly grateful, and would like to thank everyone at the Withernsea Boat Club for the donation.”