A pair of lifeboat crew members from Yarmouth RNLI lifeboat station have been officially commended for saving the lives of two people who were found clinging to the rigging of a sinking yacht.
The volunteers from the lifeboat station in Quay Street – Alex Leonard and Paul Coates-Evans – have been commended for their dedication and professionalism in rescuing the pair in April this year, after their yacht started to sink in choppy seas.
The rescue has prompted an official letter of commendation from the charity’s Chief Executive, Paul Boissier, thanking them and fellow crew members for their actions in saving the lives of the two in peril.
Yarmouth’s RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat, Eric and Susan Hiscock (Wanderer), was launched on service shortly after 1pm on 4 April, following a report that a yacht was sinking on the Shingles Bank, off the Isle of Wight. Although the visibility was good, the winds were west north westerly force 5 and the seas were choppy with a half a metre swell.
Knowing the area well, Yarmouth RNLI’s coxswain, Howard Lester, had his crew prepare the Y-boat, a smaller inflatable boat which is stowed onboard their all-weather lifeboat. The Y-boat was deployed at 1.18pm, manned by Alex and Paul. They, with some assistance from a Rigid Inflatable Boat (RIB) which was on scene, saved a man and a woman who were clinging to the yacht’s rigging and brought them to the all-weather lifeboat.
Mr Boissier said: ‘The rescued pair were given immediate first aid as they were very cold and wet. The lifeboat then returned to the lifeboat station at 1.35pm where the survivors were handed into the care of the ambulance service. Their two other companions were airlifted from the yacht by the Coastguard helicopter.
‘Coxswain Howard Lester and his crew are to be commended on their teamwork and professionalism which complimented the actions of Alex and Paul in making this a first class service all round. Well done, and thank you!’
The RNLI is a charity that relies on voluntary contributions to enable its volunteer crews to go to sea to save lives. Thanks to donations from supporters, lifeboats from more than 230 RNLI stations work together to provide a ring of safety around the UK and the Republic of Ireland.
Bernard Turner, Lifeboat Operations Manager at Yarmouth RNLI, welcomed the official commendation. He said: ‘Our volunteer crew members undergo intensive training to ensure that they are ready to respond to any kind of emergency. I am immensely proud that my crew worked so hard in these conditions to bring about such a positive outcome.
‘It is gratifying to know that the selfless efforts of the volunteer lifeboat crew members has received this recognition from the RNLI’s Chief Executive. I am very proud of this station and all of its volunteers.’