The RNLI has announced today (8 November) that the 2021 review of the Cardigan Bay coastline concluded that an all-weather lifeboat will be stationed between Fishguard and Barmouth, with the most suitable location identified as New Quay.
A 25 knot Shannon class lifeboat will replace the ageing 17 knot Mersey class lifeboat.
In 2016, a review of Cardigan Bay recommended an inshore Atlantic 85 lifeboat would replace New Quay’s current Mersey class all-weather lifeboat (ALB). However, after a lengthy consultation process and a fresh review of requirements in Cardigan Bay, it was determined that an ALB was required to deliver the most effective search and rescue service in the area. This will complement Barmouth and Pwllheli’s Shannon class lifeboats and Fishguard’s Trent class all-weather lifeboat.
The RNLI say they are constantly reviewing their assets to ensure that the right assets are in the right place to deliver the most effective service. These reviews take into account factors such as the changing trends in water use, local environmental change, search and rescue demand, the improving capabilities of modern lifeboats, and evolving technologies. It was decided the Cardigan Bay coastline should be reviewed in a consultation process which brought to light new intelligence and considered multiple stakeholder submissions which were scrutinised alongside the original data.
This summer the RNLI embarked on a month-long consultation, engaging with groups and individuals with an interest in the future of lifesaving provision in Cardigan Bay. Members of the Ceredigion Lifeboat Campaign, who worked closely with the RNLI to highlight issues and concerns, were a fundamental part of this engagement activity. Multiple submissions referred to the excellence of the Atlantic class lifeboat but also highlighted the changes in inshore and offshore water usage and potential government investment.
The RNLI say they are extremely grateful to all who took the time to contribute to this consultation.
The consultation also brought to light several potential changes and investments in the area which are likely to see an increased demand for an all-weather lifeboat. The changes include a 30% increase in aircraft operations due to a £1.3billion investment to one of the largest military live fire and exploratory technology range areas. In addition, the day trip passenger fleet is likely to expand, and government investments are planned to reinvigorate the local fishing industry.
The Chancellor has also announced £10.8m for the plans in Ceredigion to develop the harbours, to be brought forward in the next financial year. Future investments in marinas and the coastal infrastructure will lead to a significant increase in visitors to the Cardigan Bay coastline.
All these factors were considered by the RNLI Executive Team and the Trustees. Their conclusion was that these additional factors when considered warranted support to the Lifesaving Operations Director’s recommendation and decision.
John Payne, Director of Lifesaving Operations for the RNLI says: “I would like to thank all those who have supported the RNLI and openly consulted with us as well as all of the volunteers and staff who have continued to operate the lifesaving service from New Quay during this period of consultation and since 2016.
“The decision about the most appropriate type of lifeboat for the New Quay area was a marginal one. An Atlantic 85 would bring greater speed and agility, getting to casualties faster. However, given the levels of investment into the coastal communities, the longer-term plans for opening up fishing grounds (resulting in increased fishing activity) in addition to marine tourist activity from New Quay harbour itself, it is my professional opinion that an all-weather lifeboat is the better class of lifeboat for this area and the wider Cardigan Bay. This decision has been recommended to the Executive Team and supported by the RNLI Trustees at the recent board meeting held on the 3 November.
“We realise this has been a challenging time for all at New Quay who have done a sterling job of continuing to save lives at sea whilst faced with uncertainty about the future. Thanks to everyone who took the time to contribute to the consultation, allowing us to take a much more holistic view of the lifesaving effect in Cardigan Bay and the numerous factors that influence that.
“Through an open and transparent consultation process, it became clear that an all-weather lifeboat is required in Cardigan Bay due not only to external factors but to the role New Quay lifeboat plays in providing all-weather support to the whole of Cardigan Bay in its entirety.’
Roger Couch, New Quay RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager says: “I could not feel prouder of the way the crew have continued to save lives during this period of uncertainty. It has been a difficult time for us all, but I have been heartened to see the RNLI working alongside our community to make this complex decision which I believe is the right one for the future of New Quay RNLI. The RNLI has listened attentively to the people who live and work in our community and I have nothing but praise for this new process.”
Richard Taylor, Ceredigion Lifeboat Campaign Chair welcomed the news: “CLC have worked alongside the RNLI to highlight a multitude of factors, which we firmly believe indicated an all-weather lifeboat was the best possible option for New Quay. The support we’ve had from the community has been tremendous and we’d like to thank everyone for their unwavering support throughout this process. The consultation enabled us to work together and gave us a voice to share our findings. The RNLI have listened to the many valid and important reasons why an all-weather lifeboat is required. This is a really fantastic day for the RNLI in Ceredigion.”
(Lead image: RNLI/Danielle Rush)
Three dead in Haverfordwest paddleboarding incident
Dyfed Powys Police are reporting that three people have died and another remains in hospital following a multi-agency river rescue in Pembrokeshire yesterday.
Calls for help were received shortly after 9am yesterday (Saturday 20 October) after a group of nine adults paddleboarding on the River Cleddau in Haverfordwest got into difficulty.
Dyfed Powys Police say that the exact circumstances surrounding the incident is still being investigated.
Sadly two women and a man died at the scene. A woman remains in critical condition in hospital.
A further five people were rescued without injury.
A member of the public who is believed to have entered the water to attempt a rescue later exited the water safely.
The Quay Street area of Haverfordwest was cordoned off for several hours with the public asked to avoid the area while a search of the river was carried out.
Thirty firefighters from Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service, including specialist wading crews and swift water rescue specialists were also part of the rescue.
Two fire service boats were launched to assist with bank and river searches, with the crews working closely with Coastguard teams.
There was Helicopter support from the National Police Air Service, Coastguard and Wales Air Ambulance.
The lifeboat stationed at Angle was also part of the rescue operation.
The incident occurred while flood warnings were in place on the river following recent heavy rain.
Welsh Ambulance Service attended with several ambulances, and took the injured woman to nearby Withybush Hospital.
More than 20 police officers attended the scene, which remained cordoned off until 5pm.
Detective Chief Inspector Jonathan Rees from Dyfed Powys Police said that a full investigation was already underway, but at this stage his thoughts were focussed on the loved ones of those who had died and the injured paddleboarder who remains in hospital.
He thanked emergency service colleagues for their swift support, and the public for their patience throughout the incident.
DCI Rees has appealed to anyone who may have information about the incident to contact them through a dedicated website.
A Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) spokesman said: “A team of investigators from the Marine Accident Investigation Branch has deployed to Haverfordwest to undertake a preliminary assessment of the accident, working in cooperation with other agencies.
“The aim of the MAIB’s preliminary assessment is to help in determining the way forward.”
Speaking to the BBC on Saturday, Haverfordwest Town Councillor Thomas Tudor said: “Today a terrible tragedy unfolded on the River Cleddau in the Castle Ward of Haverfordwest.
“I would like to extend my sympathies to the families who have lost loved ones in this tragedy and I would like to thank the emergency services for their brave efforts in tackling this issue.
“I would also like to thank the staff from the Bristol Trader and Vaughans Radio who provided help and support for the emergency services during this difficult operation.”
(Lead image: Jaggery / Geograph)
Work of water safety initiative praised after busy summer
The dedicated work of a Tenby team promoting water safety has been hailed following one of the busiest summers on record.
The Tenby Water Safety Initiative is made up of representatives of Pembrokeshire County Council, Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service and the RNLI.
Throughout the summer the group has been providing water safety advice alongside banners and posters supported by social media messaging, highlighting potential dangers of the waters around Pembrokeshire.
Local shops and businesses supported the messaging by displaying posters and stickers in their premises.
Tenby Harbour has been a particular focus, where Water Safety Group members have engaged with the predominantly young people who have traditionally jumped into the water from the harbour walls.
Those wanting to jump have been informed of the dangers, including the fact that boats often cannot see people swimming as they approach the harbour.
Harbourmaster Chris Salisbury, said: “I would like to thank all the agencies that provided time and input to the Tenby Water Safety group.
“While we have not stopped the jumping at Tenby Harbour it has proved to be a great opportunity to raise awareness and has provided vital safety information around the dangers of jumping into all waters not just Tenby Harbour.
“The information has been delivered in many different formats across the county to best reach the young people of Pembrokeshire and visitors alike.”
RNLI Lifeguard Manager Chris Rigby said that so manyaccidents that happen around the coast could be avoided so it was great to be part of the Tenby Water Safety Initiative to try to help reduce the the number of people getting into trouble.
Chris added: “The Tenby Water safety initiative has demonstrated that Multi Agency work had succeeded in informing members of the public of the dangers in and around the working Harbour of Tenby.
“It has allowed us to take a non-authorative approach to engaging with tourists, holiday makers, and locals alike and has provided a platform for us to promote the safe use of waters in and around the harbour whilst enjoying the picturesque scenery and atmosphere.”
Station Manager Jeremy Trew, Youth Intervention Manager with Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service said the work between partners will continue to deliver water safety education.
This will also aim to reduce the anti-social behaviour that is sometimes associated with the dangerous use of the harbour area.
Kelly Davies, Senior Practitioner, Pembrokeshire Youth Service and Lead for Tenby Water Safety, commended the efforts of all those involved.
“By bringing together experts in the field of water safety and local knowledge we have been able to approach the initiative from an information, factual point of view and have tried to make the message very clear to all who visit Tenby. Enjoy our waters, but do so safely and know the dangers.”
Kelly added: “I would like to thank the Harbourmaster, Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue, the RNLI and Leisure services for their continued support and commitment in raising the awareness of the Tenby Water Safety Initiative.’
In any marine emergency, dial 999 and ask for the Coastguard.
Lead image: Chris Salisbury (Harbour Master), Jeremy Trew (Station Manager – Fire & Rescue Service) Chris Powles (Targeted Youth Team Manager), Jonathan Williams (Senior Youth Worker). (Image: Pembrokeshire Council)
Dramatic multi-agency rescue rescue after fisherman’s 10ft fall onto rocks
RNLI Lifeguards at Whitesands beach in Pembrokeshire rushed to the aid of a man injured after falling onto rocks while fishing on Wednesday (5 August)
After being alerted by beach-goers along Whitesands beach and Rams Nose headland, RNLI lifeguards rushed to respond to the casualty, with lifeguard Margot Lawrence paddling around the headline on a rescue board.
Lifeguard Jake Rogers, who was second to arrive at the scene, said: “We were alerted to the incident by members of the public shouting from the headland.
“Margot headed around to the scene by paddling on the rescue board and I headed over via the coastal path with the trauma bag.
“Once we arrived, we saw that some members of the public had managed to get the casualty out of the water after he’d fallen onto rocks whilst fishing.
“We were able to stabilise administer first aid and stabilise the casualty whilst we waited for the air ambulance.
“When the air ambulance did arrive, the paramedic winched down and we helped to prepare the casualty for transport to Cardiff.
“Thanks to the quick reactions of members of the public, we were able to respond as quickly.
“If you spot someone in trouble along the coast, either alert a lifeguard as quickly as possible or dial 999 and ask for coastguard.”
(Lead image: RNLI)
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