RNLI Staff Tour Ends With Double Scream
With the easing of restrictions related to the Covid pandemic, Portishead volunteers have had a busy time. As RNLI staff members can now tour the coast, it was a pleasure to twice welcome our RNLI CEO, Mark Dowie, and Regional Director of Rescue, Andy Wright.
RNLI CEO Mark Dowie passed in April, which he had planned to do before the Covid pandemic hit but was forced to delay due to the lockdown. He
spent a few hours with the Portishead volunteers before continuing his visit to the Welsh stations, circling our coast. Mike Roberts, president here in Portishead, said: “When Mark visited us recently in Portishead it was a real pleasure to welcome him and talk about some of our experiences here. We truly enjoy being a part of the wider RNLI family, especially after the difficult year we have all had in keeping the Rescue Service operational throughout the Covid pandemic.
Our new Area Rescue Director Andy Wright, who joined the association in November 2020 as a staff member, also visited.
This visit was to allow him to take a look at our coast and see for himself the local area of operations for us. Andy’s role within the RNLI is to
RNLI lifeboat stations and lifeguards located in the South West and he wants to make sure he knows all of our operational requirements to help us save lives at sea.
The volunteers gathered to take Andy to sea and while on the water, 20 minutes after their search, the Coast Guard called and loaded both the crew of the Barry Dock all-weather lifeboat. and Portishead with their Atlantic 85 to help a yacht that had run aground in the middle of the canal not far from Portishead. As the Barry Dock crew moved and the victims aboard the stricken vessel were all fit and healthy, it was agreed that they would take the lead in the call and the Portishead crew would would stand by to help if needed.
It didn’t end there for Andy and the volunteers. They were again assigned a few minutes later to an incident in the River Avon. Two people, an adult and a child had been spotted struggling in the water and with the best speed bar Ian Alder made way for the Horseshoe Bend area of the river.
Upon arrival at the scene, it was reported that police had successfully used jet lines and were able to bring the injured to safety and simply hand them over to ambulance service. It was a major rescue operation supported by the Portishead Coast Guard and their 187 helicopter in air support and the HART team.
Andy said: “It has been an eventful visit to Portishead and great to see how volunteers have worked as a team to support their community when they need it most. I’m really happy to be working for the RNLI now as I haven’t lived close enough to a lifeboat
position to be able to volunteer. My new role with the RNLI gives me the opportunity to give back to the community, which is what we’re all passionate about. ‘
Notes to editors
Images are all © RNLI Portishead
1 – Mark Dowie (center) with Neil Sutor (Helm) and Mike Roberts (Chairman)
2 – Andy Wright (camera facing left with mask)
3 – The RNLI Barry Dock all-weather lifeboat towing the stricken yacht to Portishead.
4 – On the Avon River, incident of a support swimmer
RNLI media contacts
For more information, please contact Helen Lazenby, Lifeboat Volunteer Press Officer, on 07800 595995,
[email protected], Scott Eggins Volunteer Assistant Press Secretary for Lifeboats on 07539 270063,
[email protected] or the RNLI Press Service on 01202 336789.
RNLI key figures
The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a round-the-clock search and rescue service around the coasts of the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland. The RNLI operates over 238 lifeguard stations in the UK and Ireland and, in a typical year, over 240 lifeguard units on beaches across the UK and the Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent from the Coast Guard and government and depends on voluntary donations and bequests to maintain its rescue service. Since the founding of the RNLI in 1824, its crews and rescuers have saved more than 142,700 lives.
RNLI key figures
The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a round-the-clock search and rescue service around the coasts of the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland. The RNLI operates over 238 lifeguard stations in the UK and Ireland and, in a typical year, over 240 lifeguard units on beaches in the UK and the Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent from the Coast Guard and the government and depends on voluntary donations and bequests to maintain its rescue service. Since the founding of the RNLI in 1824, its crews and rescuers have saved more than 142,700 lives.
Learn more about the RNLI
Contact the RNLI – public inquiries
Members of the public can contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or by email.