On Sunday (12 September) Falmouth RNLI’s volunteer lifeboat crew responded to two people needing medical assistance. Both shouts happened during the annual Castle to Castle Swim – an RNLI fundraising event which was taking place that day in the Carrick Roads.
A trawler in Falmouth Bay, with three people on board, sent out a Mayday call for a member of its crew who required urgent medical assistance. On receiving the distress call, the UK Coastguard requested the launch and tasked Falmouth’s Severn class all-weather lifeboat, Richard Cox Scott, to assist them with a medical evacuation.
One member of the lifeboat crew, and Falmouth station’s lifeboat medical advisor, attended to the trawlerman while awaiting the coastguard helicopter. On the helicopter’s arrival, a paramedic was winched onto the lifeboat to assess the casualty who was then airlifted to hospital for further treatment.
Falmouth’s inshore lifeboat (ILB) had also been launched that morning, to watch over the 160 open water swimmers taking part in the Castle to Castle event. The ILB was contacted to assist one swimmer who was suffering from the effects of cold water, having been in the sea for a long period of time. Already in the care of RNLI lifeguards on St Mawes beach, the swimmer was picked up by the lifeboat and returned to Falmouth station, where the crew kept him warm until an ambulance arrived.
A spokesperson for Falmouth Lifeboat Station said: ‘The Castle to Castle swim is always a very busy morning for our volunteer crew, but they demonstrated great teamwork and drew on all their training during both incidents.’
‘Our Castle to Castle event is always a safe environment – with lifeboats and lifeguards on the scene – but it’s important to remember that cold water and currents can tire you quickly when swimming in open water and make it harder to return to shore.’
‘If you’re a keen sea swimmer, it’s really important that you take steps to keep yourself safe. Always try to choose a lifeguarded beach where possible, check the weather forecast and tide times, and acclimatise to cold water slowly. You should always tell somebody where you’re going, and what time you’ll be back, so that they can call 999 and raise the alarm if they need to.’