As huge crowds lined the beach and promenade this weekend for the third annual Cleethorpes Airshow, Cleethorpes RNLI lifeboat made two emergency launches and saved the lives of three people on Saturday and Sunday.
Just before 4pm on Saturday, during the display from the Red Devils Parachute Team, the crowds parted to allow the lifeboat to launch to the aid of a man cut-off on a sandbank at Humberston. With the crew already on station enjoying the show, the launch was swift and by the time the short passage was made to the Whaleback the tide was very close indeed to the man – who had no idea of the danger he was in. A thickening sea fret had drastically reduced visibility from the shore and he was lucky to have been spotted by the crew of a yacht anchored nearby, who made the emergency call to the Coastguard via VHF radio.
On Sunday, shortly after half-past six, the volunteer crew responded once again after fishermen dialled 999 to report two adult males drifting rapidly away from the shore near Suggitts Lane on inflatable rings. While the lifeboat was still on-route, one of the men had fallen from his inflatable and was struggling in the water around 200m from the sea wall – the effects of a days drinking in the sun and the cold water very quickly impairing his ability to swim. Both men were collected by the lifeboat crew just in the nick of time and returned to shore for a medical check and safety advice from the waiting Coastguard and Police.
In both of these incidents the vigilance and prompt action of others certainly prevented the loss of life on what was a booming weekend for the resort.
Steve Austin is an RNLI crewmember: on board for both of these shouts, he is also one of the station’s Sea Safety Volunteers who helps to educate those who use the sea for business or recreation. He says: ‘These two incidents come during the same week the RNLI have launched their Respect the Water Campaign – which is raising awareness of the dangers of the sea, and aiming to reduce the incidence of accidental death at the coast. Of the 160 people who drown in coastal waters of the UK each year, two-thirds of them are adult males. All three of the men we have rescued this weekend owe their lives to the strangers who raised the alarm and brought about the swift launch of the lifeboat to their aid.’
‘Beach users can help to ensure their own safety by checking tide times and observing the weather conditions before walking out on the sandbanks. Recreational swimmers should swim parallel to the shore within sight of another person and bear in mind the tiring effects of the cold water – swimming after alcohol should always be avoided at all costs. If you spot anyone in trouble on the beach or in the sea, or realise that you may be in trouble yourself, do not attempt to enter the water, dial 999 and ask for the Coastguard.’