Sailors rescued during Storm Arwen grateful to be alive thanks to 'fantastic' Welsh RNLI volunteers

  • RNLI footage of the sea conditions during the rescue:

Four sailors rescued by the RNLI during Storm Arwen have praised the crews who came to help them.

The crew were plucked to safety off the coast of Ceredigion during gale force winds last week. They were travelling from Ireland to Aberystwyth in an ocean rowing boat as part of a training exercise.

Two all-weather lifeboats were launched, one from the RNLI's station in Barmouth and another from the base in New Quay. A Coastguard helicopter was also involved in the operation.

The crew from Ireland are now home safe and well and they hailed the RNLI volunteers for their “sheer professionalism”.

The RNLI are urging people to stay safe near the coast as more turbulent weather is expected when Storm Barra arrives in the UK on Tuesday 7 December.

The skipper of the rescued crew said the weather that day was worse than they had expected.

They said: "The relief on seeing that lifeboat coming towards us was immense.

"I have nothing but praise for the professionalism and efficiency of the RNLI volunteers who saved our lives, they were quite simply remarkable. We were brought back into the shelter of New Quay and the crews were so welcoming and hospitable.

"They were genuinely overwhelmed and grateful that there had been a positive outcome."

They added: "We’re back home with our families now, but our loved ones could have been facing a very different Christmas this year had it not been for these fantastic volunteers."

Daniel Potter, New Quay RNLI’s Coxswain said: "In my 44 years as a lifeboatman, I’ve been on hundreds of shouts, but I can honestly say I’ve never felt such satisfaction and relief that these men were recovered safely.

"I’m not ashamed to say it, there were tears on that boat on that day. The look on their faces when we reached them will stay with me for a very long time.

"Nothing compares to that feeling of being able to know hand on heart you contributed to saving someone’s life. The fact you can return them safely to their families is job satisfaction on another scale.

"Our vision is to save every one and I hope people will continue to support us in being able to do this and support our Christmas appeal this year."

The RNLI relies on donations to help fund purchasing and maintaining essential kit and training.

The organisation is urging people to take care along the coast as severe weather could mean particularly dangerous sea conditions.  The Met Office has issued a yellow warning for strong winds throughout Tuesday for the whole of Wales, as Storm Barra hits. 

The RNLI’s key water safety advice:

  • Take care if walking near cliffs, seafronts or piers – be aware of ice and frost, know your route and keep dogs on a lead.

  • Check weather forecasts and tide times daily.

  • Take a fully charged phone.

  • Check your equipment is in good working order.

  • Be aware of the conditions and your capabilities.

  • In an emergency call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coastguard.