Dramatic Devon sea rescue as sailor falls overboard

May 27, 2024

Personal Locator Beacon

It’s been a busy bank holiday weekend for Exmouth RNLI as crews rescued a lone sailor who had fallen overboard and five people stuck on a vessel which had lost power. The two incidents happened on Saturday, May 25 and Sunday, May 26.

Exmouth RNLI’s inshore lifeboat George Bearman II was launched on Saturday within five minutes of being alerted by a Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) to a person who had fallen overboard. It was followed rapidly by the all-weather lifeboat R & J Welburn and five crew members.

The Coastguard also broadcast a Mayday alert to all nearby vessels requesting any possible assistance. Both lifeboats made their way to the location, along with a passing private motor vessel.

The motor vessel arrived at the scene first and pulled the casualty from the water. Exmouth RNLI said he was then transferred, via the inshore lifeboat, to the safety to the all-weather lifeboat.

Once the crew were happy that the casualty required no further medical attention, they made their way back to his sailing vessel and deployed a crew member onboard to help get it back under control. The casualty skipper then felt he was well enough to re-join his vessel, so accompanied by a crew member and escorted by the lifeboat, made his way back to the River Exe and the boat’s original mooring.

Exmouth RNLI volunteer Deputy Coxswain, Roy Stott said: “It was a great outcome for everyone involved, as when a person is in the water things can very quickly deteriorate with tragic consequence. The casualties’ life was almost certainly saved by the combination of his safety equipment including his Personal Locator Beacon and lifejacket.

“It gave us an accurate location of where he was, whilst keeping him afloat until help arrived. Also a sincere thanks to the skipper of the motor vessel that responded and pulled the individual from the water. A real one crew effort and a life saved.”

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