Fishermen refuse lifeboat help

PUBLISHED: 15:00 31 December 2012

Portishead Lifeboat.

Portishead Lifeboat.

Archant

VOLUNTEERS at a lifeboat charity were called out three times over the holidays, including to a group of fishermen who did not want to be helped despite having incorrect equipment.

The three fishermen from Clevedon had no radio or flares and only two lifejackets when the RNLI were called to them in the waters near Weston by members of the public on December 29.

The trio were were later helped onshore by the Coastguard.

RNLI crews abandoned their festive dinners at about 1.30pm on December 25 to search for a man who had reportedly entered the water near Uphill.

Police, Coastguard and an RNLI helicopter also became involved in the search, but no-one was found and crews returned home three hours later.

On December 29, crews were called to a report of a dinghy drifting out of control in Sand Bay, but it turned out to be a false alarm.

On the same day, another dinghy was said to be in trouble near Birnbeck Island during poor weather conditions.

When they reached the boat, they found three men fishing despite being ill-prepared.

A statement released by the RNLI said: “They only had two lifejackets which were not being worn, no flares to summon help and no VHF radio to communicate with the Coastguard.

“The lifeboat crews pointed out these problems to the fishermen but they did not seem to understand the danger they were in.”

The Coastguard kept a lifeboat on standby and were needed to help the boat land.

RNLI operations manager Pete Holder said: “Our role is to save lives at sea.

“We do that with volunteer crews and depend on public donations.

“We are on call 365 days of the year and will always answer the call if someone is in trouble.”

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