Man rescued from houseboat in rough conditions on River Exe

Inshore lifeboat George Bearman II launches on service in the dark. Picture: Exmouth RNLI.

Inshore lifeboat George Bearman II launches on service in the dark. Picture: Exmouth RNLI. - Credit: Picture: Exmouth RNLI.

The RNLI became concerned after the man was seen losing an oar after rowing out to his houseboat.

A man has been rescued from a houseboat due to rough conditions on the River Exe.

Both Exmouth’s Shannon class and D class lifeboats were tasked at 8.05pm last night (November 8), following a call to the Coastguard from a man concerned for his welfare.

The man had just rowed to his anchored houseboat, moored in the River Exe outside Cockwood harbour.

He had lost an oar as he was getting on board in the dark and had no means to make it back to shore safely.

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Conditions were deteriorating with a combination of high winds and high tide.

A decision was made to launch both lifeboats by deputy launching authority, Rick Newcombe: “We weren’t sure whether our Shannon could reach the casualty at the location as he was tucked up, close to the shore.

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“In force five conditions, launching the D class lifeboat alone could have been a risk to our Crew volunteers, so the all-weather lifeboat was launched to support the inshore lifeboat.”

Coxswain, Steve Hockings-Thompson described the actions of his Crew volunteers: “There was just enough tide to reach the casualty using the Shannon’s manoeuvrable capabilities in shallow water. He was taken on board relief Shannon, John Metters by our volunteers who passed him over to the inshore lifeboat George Bearman II.

“They in turn took him to Starcross to safety where the casualty was met by Teignmouth Coastguard Rescue Team. We gave him safety advice as we noticed the casualty wasn’t wearing a lifejacket.

He added: “In all weathers, we would advise wearing lifejackets and carrying reliable means of communication, so we can find casualties quickly.”

The RNLI operates 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and has more than 200 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK.

It is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service.

Since the RNLI was founded in 1824 its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 140,000 lives.

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