1. ITV Report

Exmouth RNLI rescues speedboat crew with no safety equipment on board

The volunteer crew of the George Bearman II had a busy weekend. Credit: Exmouth RNLI

Volunteer crews called out to a speedboat that had run aground in the River Exe found that there was no safety equipment on board.

Exmouth inshore D class lifeboat George Bearman II was sent to sand flats between Powderham Castle and Lympstone just after 11pm on Saturday 28 April. It found there were four people on board and one had been in the water.

The casualties were taken ashore at Exmouth Marina with the help of a local water taxi. The crew laid down an anchor for the speedboat to float itself in the morning rising tide.

The casualties had no safety equipment on board - no lifejackets, VHF radio or flares. Stranded in the middle of the dark estuary with a fast flowing spring tide, they used their mobile to call the water taxi to help them. However, they couldn't be reached by boat as they were high and dry. We were on scene within 17 minutes and waded across sand flats to recover three casualties to the lifeboat and the water taxi operator recovered the casualty who had been in the water. No-one needed casualty care, all were extremely grateful and realised how much difficulty they'd been in.

– Roger Jackson, Helm

The Exmouth RNLI safety officer says the casualties were lucky to be able to call for help with just a mobile phone.

It’s extremely difficult to navigate around the river Exe in the dark without a VHF radio. With only a mobile phone as their only method of communication, they were lucky to find a signal. We would advise everyone taking to the water to wear lifejackets and take suitable means of communication should they find themselves in difficulty.

– Dave Littlefield, Exmouth Lifeboat Community Safety Officer

The speedboat rescue was the second of three call-outs for inshore lifeboat, George Bearman II in just 24 hours at the weekend.

The crew rescued an old tender found floating down the river earlier on Saturday evening.

On Sunday evening, 29 April, the boat was tasked to help a woman having fits in the water near the Exmouth clock tower. The crew stayed with her while waiting for the ambulance.