Man rescued in Lyme Bay after fishing boat 'sinks without trace'

Exmouth RNLI lifesavers speed to the rescue

Exmouth RNLI lifesavers speed to the rescue - Credit: RNLI

Exmouth RNLI volunteer crew members were launched yesterday to rescue a man who had abandoned his fishing boat after it started to sink.

At 12.07pm today Friday, June 18, the Exmouth RNLI All Weather Lifeboat 13-03 R & J Welburn was tasked by H.M. Coastguard to a report of a male person who had taken to a life-raft after his 40 ft fishing boat had started to take on water in Lyme Bay about six miles south of Budleigh Salterton.

The lifeboat, crewed by Coxswain, Steve Hockings-Thompson and volunteer crew, Mark Sampson, Guy Munnings, James Searle, James Edge and Roger Moore, launched shortly afterwards and immediately made its way to the last reported location of the casualty.

Meanwhile, a local safety vessel, the Smit-Cerne, discovered the casualty and gave assistance, taking him on board their boat until the lifeboat arrived.

An H.M. Coastguard rescue helicopter was summoned to the scene but was stood down once it was established the casualty was safe.


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The lifeboat liaised with the Smit-Cerne, took the casualty on board and took him and his life-raft back to the safety of shore at Exmouth Marina. The fishing boat sank without trace.

Apart from being wet and cold, the casualty was uninjured and did not require medical treatment.

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Exmouth RNLI Coxswain, Steve Hockings-Thompson, said “This rescue was a very serious situation where, were it not for the crew member having proper emergency equipment such as a life-raft and proper means of communication, the outcome could have been far worse. I am grateful to the crew of Smit-Cerne and very pleased we were able to bring this emergency to a swift, safe and satisfactory conclusion.”

The incident was concluded and the lifeboat back on station ready for service by 2pm.

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