All posts by Phil Smith

Crew paged twice in 24 hours to assist with search for Missing Girl

Happisburgh vouneteers were called into acton again tonight 13th October at 6:35pm to help with search for a Girl missing, HM Coastguard paged the crew at 6:35pm to help with the search,

By 6:45pm Russell Pickering was on the water with Tim Grimmer on helm and Martin Gibbs as crew tasked to do a coast line search up the coast towards Walcott.

Howard Bell was being made ready to go to sea, HM Coastguard contacted Russell Pickering and informed them that the Girl had been found safe, they then returned to station recoved and made ready for service by 7:15pm

Happisburgh volunteers were previously called into acton last night 12th October at 9pm to help with a search for a girl missing around the Walcott area. HM Coastguard paged the crew at 9pm to help with the search; Mundesley Lifeboat, the Police and Bacton Coastguard were already searching when we were called

By 9:10pm Howard Bell was on the water with Tim Grimmer on helm and Martin Gibbs and Chirs Risby as crew, tasked to do a coast line search up the towards Walcott. HM Coastguard then tasked Russell Pickering with Jake Munday on helm and Sean Thurston as crew, to recover two Police officers who had been searching the beach towards Happisburgh and found themselves cut off by the tide.

Howard Bell was soon informed that the girl had been found cold and wet and she had walked off the beach. Russell Pickering soon arrived where the police officers were and worked their way through the old revetments to the beach, picked up the officers and tranfered them to Howard Bell to be taken to Walcott ramp.  They were then transferred back to Russell Pickering to be put ashore.

Both boats returned to Station and were rehoused and made ready for service by 10:30pm

Busy 24 hours with five taskings from HM Coastguard

Happisburgh Lifeboat volunteers had a busy twenty-four hours with five taskings from HM Coastguard

It started at 4.10pm on Friday 30th August when the pagers alerted the crew to a 40 ft Sunseeker cruiser with engine problems, taking on water off Waxham. She was on passage to Lowerstoft with 4 persons on board. The station’s Atlantic Howard Bell was launched with Sean Thurston at the helm and Martin Gibbs, Will Baker and Chris Rigsby as crew. When they arrived alongside the cruiser the engine had been restarted but was still taking on water. Martin Gibbs went on board the cruiser with the salvage pump and the lifeboat escorted the crusier to Great Yarmouth before returning to Happisburgh, being back on service at 9pm.

This was the first time Sean Thurston had taken the helm of the Atlantic since passing out as helm ten days earlier. Sean said ‘it was great to put all the training into practice for real’.

Then on Saturday 31st August the pagers went off again, this time the D-Class Russell Pickering was launched to Walcott to reports of four persons in the sea ? inflatable. Russell Pickering was soon on its way with Tim Grimmer at the Helm and crew of Sean Thurston and Will Baker. On arrivel the crew found the four persons were ashore so beached the D-Class and carried out casualty assessments before handing over to the Ambulance service. An off duty policeman had used a board to go out to sea and get the persons ashore; the Coastguard asked the Lifeboat to do a coastline search for him to make sure he was OK; he was not located and was believed to have left the beach.

The Station’s Atlantic was also paged for this search but was stood down as the D-class had handed the casualties over to the ambulance service.

No sooner had the crews returned to the station when the pagers were set off again, this time to a small dinghy with engine problems off Walcott. Howard Bell was dispached to the scene with Sean Thurston on the helm and Tim Grimmer and Will Baker as crew. When alongside the dinghy they found the engine had been restarted.

The crew were then tasked by HM Coastguard to a person who had swam out to recover a ball from the sea. The crew soon located the person close to the beach and watched him reach the shore, then returned to the dinghy and escorted it safely back to shore. Howard Bell returned to staton and was then ready for service again.

Tim Grimmer, Senior Helm, said ‘people need to be aware that after the beach at Walcott has been rebuilt and the public are able to use it again, when there is an offshore wind there is nothing to reduce the force and effect of the wind so all inflatables should be tethered securely to the beach to prevent them being blown out to sea. The first callout to Walcott was four persons who had fallen out of an inflatable and if it had not been for the brave actions of the off duty Policeman it could have been a different story. Enjoy the beach but be safe and if any problems then call 999 and ask for the Coastguard.’

Crew launch D-Class to Drifting Inflatable

HM Coastguard contacted Paul Broomfield, Deputy Launching Authority at Happisburgh, at 4:05pm and informed him that an inflatable dinghy with two persons on board was drifting out to sea.  He alerted the volunteer crew and the station’s Russell Pickering D/Class lifeboat was soon on the water with Tim Grimmer on helm and Martin Gibbs as crew.  No sooner than they were on the water the Coastguard called them and informed them that a kayak had towed the dinghy to the beach; the crew were stood down and returned to the station.

Tim Grimmer said ‘people need to be careful when using any type of inflatable on the beach, the inflatable needs to be tethered securely to the shore, someone needs to be ashore with means of calling for help if anything happens then call 999 and ask for the Coastguard, and don’t forget if your inflatable blows away, even if no one is onboard, please inform the Coastguard of where it is heading plus colour and size’.

Russell Pickering was refuelled and made ready for service again. We are greatful to the kayaker who towed the dinghy ashore.

£500 Donation From Sheringham Oddfellows

An Oddfellows donation is helping to keep a north Norfolk lifeboat station afloat. The £500 gift from the Trafalgar Lodge to Happisburgh RNLI will go to local station running costs. It was gratefully received at the station’s annual Lifeboat Day event, where the big turnout shows the appreciation the public has for the life-saving service it offers. Oddfellows branch Development Officer Angie Batson did the handover, and even got a chance to board one off the station’s two boats – while it was still on dry land. Trafalgar is a regular supporter of lifeboats in the area, including Happisburgh and Sheringham. The Oddfellows is an historic Friendly Society dating back to 1810, providing social, care and financial benefits for its members as well as friendship and charity fundraising. Find out more at, or call 0161 832 9361.

Happisburgh Lifeboat Day & Fete a Success

We had a very successful and exciting day yesterday at Happisburgh where the weather was very kind to us.

The crew and helpers had an early start to get the site prepared for the 12noon start with a wide range of games, competitions, food and drink as well as educational activities.  From the start we had a very large number of visitors partaking in all the activities, enjoying the excellent weather and sitting enjoying the live band throughout the afternoon.

We had the RNLI Community Safety Team giving advice on how to stay safe near water and how to enjoy themselves.  Part of this was the attendance of RNLI Lifeguards giving similar advice.  The Ambulance Service First Responders were also teaching visitors how to do CPR as well as giving us First Aid cover.

The RAF Neatishead Museum brought their Jaguar simulator for people to climb inside and experience the feelings of being inside a jet fighter. HM Coastguards were also in attendance.  People had the opportunity to play on a wide variety of traditional fete games like Splat the Rat, Frog game, crockery smash, welly throwing and coconut shy as well as enjoying a hog roast and BBQ, bar and teas/coffees.

Visitors also had an opportunity to meet the crew, find out what it’s like to be part of a Lifeboat crew and how to become a volunteer with the RNLI.

At 3.30pm both of Happisburgh’s lifeboats were launched along with the support of RNLI Lifeguards to put on a display of how all three work together to save lives at sea.

The fete drew to an end at 4pm with us raising approximately £7,000 in the 4hrs, which shows a fantastic effort by all involved.  We would like to say a huge thank you to all our volunteers, supporters and visitors for making this such a successful day and look forward to seeing you next year on Sunday 2nd August 2020.


Crew Paged to Search for Windsurf Board

Happisburgh Volunteers were called into action tonight, 14 July at 7:25pm, to reports of a ‘query’ orange and green kite or wind surf board floating off Ostend ramp.

The UK Coastguard received reports of an object floating in the sea off Ostend and requested the launch of Happisburgh Atlantic Lifeboat through our Deputy Launching Authority, Colin Flemming, who set the crew pagers off.

Howard Bell was soon on the water with Christian Larter on helm, Martin Gibbs, Sean Thurston and John Holsworth as crew and proceeded to Ostend ramp where they commenced their search. They worked down the coast towards Happisburgh then proceeded back towards Ostend, extending their search seaward.  Approximately 600 metres off Ostend ramp the crew found a lime green fishing box with orange netting.  This was reported to Humber Coastguard.  The crew were then requested to carry on searching South as far as Reef Three at Sea Palling.  After two and a half hours of searching the crew had completed their search pattern, as requested by Humber Coastguard, but had found nothing else so were stood down.  They returned to Station and were ready for service by 9.50pm.

Helm, Christian Larter, said ‘The boat and crew had worked well together.  Bacton coastguard had provided valuable information from their vantage points at Ostend ramp and the clifftop at the old Coastwatch, Happisburgh’.

Community Safety Team Share Lifesaving Techniques at the Royal Norfolk Show

RNLI volunteers were at the Royal Norfolk Show. The Community Safety Team and RNLI Education spent 2 days in the Broads Village, working with the Broads Authority to inform visitors on how to stay safe near water and help others who find themselves in trouble in the water.

The volunteers were talking to children, parents and grandparents, informing them how to stay safe near water; sadly around 150 people drown each year and 50% of these had no intention to go into water when they left home. So the first message they got over was FLOAT FOR YOUR LIFE – if you fall into water, fight your instinct to swim until the cold water shock passes, float to live.

If you fall unexpectedly into water:

  1. Fight your instinct to thrash around
  2. Lean back, extend your arms and legs
  3. If you need to, gently move them around to help you float
  4. Float until you can control your breathing
  5. Only then call for help or swim to safety

The practical part was education on using Throw Line:

Dave is in trouble! He’s fallen in the water, he doesn’t have a life jacket or buoyancy aid on and he’s getting cold, can you help? Grab a throw line and see if you can HELP.

With the help of RNLI volunteers and Broads Rangers they were shown what a throw bag is and how to get help by phoning 999 and asking for the Coastguard then how to use the throw bag and have a go.

Throw Bags are at all Broads Authority moorings on the broads; a lot of people had seen them but did’t know what they were for or how to use them.  After their talk and practice throwing they were happy to use them and help save a life.

People were very interested in the throw line, not only people who own boats but those who live by or near water; these people were given information on how to obtain throw lines. This puts more aids near water to save lives.

Robert Mann, Community Safety Officer at Happisburgh RNLI, said “It was a very worthwhile 2 days; the number of people of all ages who were aware of our FLOAT campaign was very pleasing and shows the message is getting out and hopefully the number of drownings will fall.  The large number of people trying the throw lines who would be happy to use them to help people in trouble, will also help save lives”.

Jim Page, Education Officer at Cromer RNLI said “Being able to interact with so may people was the best way to get our message over, especially with the hot weather on its way and the likelihood of more people being near the water”.

At the end of the second day the RNLI Vounteers took part in the Sunset Parade in the main ring.

Lifeboat called out to reports of dinghy floating off coast

Happisburgh lifeboat was launched today after reports that a dinghy was floating off the north Norfolk coast.

Lifeboat spokesman Philip Smith said: “We were called at 12.21pm on Good Friday to a dinghy floating about 400m off Happisburgh Lighthouse.

“The boat was launched with a crew of three. A search was carried out but the dinghy was not found, and we were stood down.”


Challenge Yourself To Become a Lifeguard This Year

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) is in search of new recruits to spend a season working on some of the region’s most popular beaches,  as applications open for 2019’s beach lifeguards.

At the forefront of the RNLI’s lifesaving work, the charity’s lifeguards responded to over 15,500 incidents and helped over 24,000 people in 2017. Successful applicants receive world-class training in search and rescue, lifesaving and casualty care techniques, good rates of pay* and the chance to develop valuable skills for a future career.

Sally Houseago, RNLI Area Lifesaving Manager, says: ‘Working as a lifeguard is a unique and rewarding experience – you get to call the beach your office for a start! But far more importantly than that, you are there to make sure the public stay safe while enjoying their visit, and ultimately to help save lives at sea.

‘This is a demanding job requiring commitment, skill and a clear head, but it’s also a job that is truly life changing. We’re looking for people with courage, determination and the ability to put their training into action and make the right decision if someone’s life is in danger. It is an incredibly rewarding role.’

And it’s not just on the beach where lifeguarding skills can be put into practice. The training provided by the charity can be an ideal first step towards many career paths, including continuing to work for the RNLI or for a career in the emergency services.

Former RNLI lifeguard Sandi Jose is now a trained paramedic, and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the role. She says: ‘If you enjoy working in a team, enjoy a challenging and changing environment, have the ability to think quickly under pressure, like helping others, and have the fitness to do the role then don’t think twice…it’s a job you will love.’

Find out more about how you can make a difference and apply to be part of an amazing lifesaving team at:

Station Mechanic & DLA Represents RNLI at Cenotaph

RNLI volunteer from Happisburgh Lifeboat Station join London’s Remembrance Sunday Cenotaph service

A lifesaving volunteer from Happisburgh represent the Royal National Lifeboat Institution in the annual Remembrance Sunday Cenotaph service this weekend, marking one hundred years since the end of the First World War, this is the second time that a volunteer from Happisburgh has been chosen since the charity has been officially represented in 2016.

Bob Mann the stations Mechanic and Deputy Launching Authority, joined five other Volunteer’s from around the UK and Ireland. Bob said “how proud he was to take part on this memorable occasion”.

Back at the station volunteers joined the village at Happisburgh Church for their Remembrance Sunday Service yesterday afternoon