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.’