RNLI - Barmouth Lifeboat Station

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Another generous donation for Barmouth RNLI .

Barmouth RNLI received welcome visitors on Thursday evening 8 December..

Yvonne and Darren Bowater of Dyffryn Seaside Estate called in to present a cheque for £1,500 -  the proceeds from a grand raffle held at their end of season party.

Coxswain Peter Davies said:

‘We are delighted to receive this very generous donation from Dyffryn Seaside Estate.  The money will be put towards our new D Class Inshore Lifeboat which will be named in memory of Craig Steadman, a member of the crew of the Holyhead Lifeboat who tragically died last year.  The Barmouth and Holyhead crews are working together to raise funds towards the purchase of the £46,000 lifeboat and lots more events are planned.’

Pictured are volunteer crew members Anthony Schorah, Alex Hill and Stormy Stan receiving the cheque from the Bowater family.

Barmouth RNLI thank supporters.

Supporters and friends of Barmouth RNLI gathered at the lifeboat house on Friday 2 December 2016 for a ‘Thankyou Evening’ arranged by the Fundraising Committee.

Fundraising Chair Wendy Ponsford addressed a crowded room of supporters, crew members, and RNLI shop volunteers, explaining that the event was held for all those who had supported Barmouth RNLI during 2016 and she thanked them all for their continuing and generous help throughout the year..
During the evening, Derek Haywood and his wife Sallie from Dyffryn Ardudwy presented the station with a beautiful quilt handcrafted by Sallie portraying in fine detail the Barmouth all-weather lifeboat the Moira Barrie.  Derek also donated a cheque for £150 from his Yellow Wellie appeal in Dyffryn.  This will be added to the amount already collected by Derek towards the Craig Steadman Appeal in memory of the Holyhead volunteer who died in a road traffic accident in August last year. The funds will go towards a new D class lifeboat, which will be located at Barmouth.

Branch Treasurer June Davies announced record profits from the RNLI shop and fundraising events again this year and volunteers were delighted to hear that, in addition to their regular fundraising efforts, the branch had now raised over £7,000 towards the Craig Steadman Appeal.

A short film was shown, a compilation of some of the rescues performed and training exercises undertaken by the Barmouth RNLI volunteers during 2016.  This depicted some harrowing rescues in difficult conditions and outlined vividly the courage of our lifeboat crew members and the training and skills required to save lives at sea.  A special vote of thanks to the lifeboat crew for their outstanding efforts was recorded.

The next event in the RNLI calendar will be the annual New Year’s Day Dip on 1 January 2017 at 11 am.  The dip is open to anyone feeling brave enough to participate and sponsor forms can be obtained from Barmouth Lifeboat Station or by emailing Barmouth@rnli.org.

Barmouth RNLI receives cheque from Shell Island.

Representatives from Barmouth RNLI were invited to Shell Island on Saturday 19 November 2016 for their annual dinner dance.

The owners of Shell Island Resort and Campsite, the Workman family, have been staunch supporters of the RNLI since the 1970s and each year the Barmouth branch receive very generous contributions from events held at the site.  This year they were delighted to receive proceeds from the annual Gala Day and other events held at Shell Island during 2016 totalling £1,330.

Receiving the cheque on behalf of the RNLI, Coxswain Peter Davies said:

‘Barmouth RNLI has always enjoyed close working relationships with Shell Island and we are very grateful to them for their continued generosity.  The money will be put towards our new D Class Inshore Lifeboat which we hope to have in 2017. The boat will be named in memory of Craig Steadman, a dedicated member of the crew of the Holyhead Lifeboat who tragically died last year.  The Barmouth and Holyhead crews will be working together to hold further events towards the purchase of the £46,000 boat.'

Pictured is Peter Davies receiving the cheque from George Workman.

Remembrance day callout for Barmouth RNLI.

RNLI and Coastguard services in Barmouth were kept busy on Remembrance Sunday, 13th November 2016. 

During the morning service at St John’s Church, Barmouth, members of UK Coastguard UK were called out to assist a man who had fallen at the north end of Barmouth promenade.  Later on, at 1.05 pm, after attending the service at Barmouth Cenotaph, the pagers rang to alert Barmouth RNLI crew to another incident.

UK Coastguard had received a report of a dinghy off Shell Island.  RNLI volunteers launched the Inshore Lifeboat (ILB) at 13.10 and found an empty dinghy attached to a lobster pot buoy.  After searching the area and on further investigation, the owner was located ashore.  He informed the crew he had tied his boat up and that there was no emergency and no-one else involved.

The incident was treated as a false alarm with good intent, and the ILB returned to station at 2.30 pm.

150 year-old Telescope presented to Barmouth RNLI.

Robert Wyn Jones is a descendant of one of Barmouth’s oldest families and the great-grand-nephew of Humphrey Jones, the first named coxswain of Barmouth lifeboat, a position he held for 26 years from 1866 to 1892. Robert’s father, Rhys David Jones, was also coxswain of Barmouth Lifeboat from 1960 to 1967 and Robert himself has served as a member of the volunteer crew.

Robert was recently left a telescope which had been in the Jones family for several generations.  Inscribed ‘National Lifeboat Institution1861’, it is believed to have belong to Rees Jones of Bryn Peris who was the son of Coxswain Humphrey Jones and served as RNLI secretary and signalman from 1888 until his death in November 1929.   On Saturday 12th November 2016, Robert Wyn kindly donated the telescope to Barmouth RNLI.

‘We are very grateful that Robert has decided to make this very generous donation and delighted that this beautiful telescope has been presented to the station. We will arrange for it to be displayed in the Museum section of our RNLI shop at the lifeboat station.’ 

Pictured:  Sybil Jones, Robert Wyn Jones, ex-crew member and descendant of Humphrey Jones present the telescope to coxswain Peter Davies and second coxswain Rob Williams.

Barmouth RNLI launch to man in dinghy

The continuing good autumn weather is still bringing people to the coast and there is a lot of activity in and around Cardigan Bay. A member of the public became concerned on the morning of Tuesday 25th October 2016 when she saw a dinghy drifting out to sea at the north end of Barmouth promenade.

A lifeboat supporter herself, she wasted no time in contacting Barmouth Lifeboat Station direct and quickly explained the situation to the RNLI Mechanic Daryl James. The person in the dinghy was waving frantically, she said, and a kayaker had gone to his assistance, but was unable to help. Barmouth RNLI Inshore lifeboat launched at 10.10 and located an inflatable tender with one person aboard and a kayaker about one mile offshore. Visibility was good and the sea state was calm, but the easterly force 3 to 4 wind was blowing them both out to sea.

The male occupant had been fishing and his outboard engine had broken down. ‘I’m so glad you came’, he said, ‘I haven’t got any oars aboard the boat and I was just about to try and swim ashore’. The ILB volunteer crew explained that he did the right thing in staying with the boat as it was highly unlikely he could have swum to safety in the stiff offshore breeze. When asked whether he had a lifejacket, the man replied that he did, but it was in his car. The RNLI volunteers outlined the importance of wearing a lifejacket and took him aboard the ILB, returning him and his boat to the shore.

This was the 40th ‘shout’ for the Barmouth Inshore Lifeboat this year.

Old meets new at Barmouth RNLI.

The Meirionnydd Branch of the National Vintage Tractor and Engine Club hold a vintage tractor run each year to raise money for local charities, and this year Barmouth RNLI were the fortunate beneficiaries.

In August of 2016, the Club’s annual tractor run took them from Abergwynant to Cregennan, and over the top road towards Llwyngwril and Y Gaer where members of the club paused to enjoy perfect views of Cardigan Bay.  From this excellent vantage point they spotted the crew of Barmouth RNLI’s all-weather and inshore lifeboats out on an exercise.  It was then the decision was made to donate the proceeds of their run to the RNLI. 

On Saturday 22nd October 2016, two of their members, Hefin Ellis and Peredur Williams arrived at the boathouse, together with their vintage tractors, to present a cheque for £300 to Barmouth RNLI.

Coxswain Peter Davies said ‘We are most grateful to the Meirionnydd Vintage Tractor Club for their very kind donation and it was a pleasure to see these 60 year-old machines so lovingly looked after and still in perfect working order.’

Hefin and Peredur were given a tour of the Lifeboat Station and the lifeboats and there was much swapping of tractor-related stories, and comparisons made between agricultural tractors built in the 1950s and the RNLI ‘s Talus MBH, specifically designed to launch recover lifeboats weighing up to 15 tonnes from beaches in up to 2.4 metres of water.

Pictured are, from l to r: Coxswain Peter Davies, Hefin Ellis, Peredur Williams, Second Cox Rob Williams, and RNLI Mechanic Daryl James.


Barmouth Inshore Lifeboat launches to dinghy being swept offshore

When Relief Mechanic Nigel Merridew saw a small dinghy with two people on board in difficulties off Barmouth promenade on Wednesday 5th October, he lost no time in alerting the crew. 

The ‘D’ Class Inshore Lifeboat (ILB) The Clive Tanner launched at 2.18 pm.  Visibility was good, but the force 3 easterly wind was gusting to force 6 and the dinghy was being quickly swept out to sea.

The ILB crew were on scene within a few minutes where they found a small inflatable 2-man dinghy with a young man and woman in their twenties on board. The occupants were both wearing wetsuits and buoyancy aids but were unable, in the blustery offshore wind conditions, to return their small dinghy to the shore. Both very shaken by the experience and very glad to see the lifeboat, but neither required any medical assistance.

They were towed ashore and given safety advice and the ILB returned to station and was ready for service by 2.50 pm.

When Relief Mechanic Nigel Merridew saw a small dinghy with two people on board in difficulties off Barmouth promenade on Wednesday 5th October, he lost no time in alerting the crew. 

The ‘D’ Class Inshore Lifeboat (ILB) The Clive Tanner launched at 2.18 pm.  Visibility was good, but the force 3 easterly wind was gusting to force 6 and the dinghy was being quickly swept out to sea.

The ILB crew were on scene within a few minutes where they found a small inflatable 2-man dinghy with a young man and woman in their twenties on board. The occupants were both wearing wetsuits and buoyancy aids but were unable, in the blustery offshore wind conditions, to return their small dinghy to the shore. Both very shaken by the experience and very glad to see the lifeboat, but neither required any medical assistance.

They were towed ashore and given safety advice and the ILB returned to station and was ready for service by 2.50 pm.


Barmouth RNLI sees E.M.I.L.Y. in action.

Members of Barmouth and Criccieth RNLI, along with representatives from HM Coastguard and other emergency agencies, were invited to Shell Island on Monday evening (20th September 2016) to see their new robotic lifeguard.

Known as E.M.I.L.Y (an acronym for Emergency Integrated Lifesaving Lanyard), the battery-operated remote controlled device can be deployed from the shore or a boat to provide a flotation device for up to six people until help arrives.
One of the biggest campsites in Europe, and situated on the Cardigan Bay coast near Llanbedr, Shell Island lies midway between the RNLI stations of Barmouth and Criccieth.  Owner Richard Workman believes that EMILY can provide buoyancy for casualties for vital minutes until the lifeboats arrive.
Mr Workman, who has been trained to use the device, said that after being dropped into the water from the shore, the device uses an impeller motor to travel through water, and is able to reach victims much faster than a lifeguard can by swimming. EMILY, which cost £8,000, has a speed of 20mph (32km) and could reach someone 200m offshore in seconds.

Launched from the beach at Shell Island, with assistance from volunteer crew of the Criccieth Inshore Lifeboat, onlookers were able to see this very impressive device in action from the shore.


Two shouts for Barmouth RNLI.

Barmouth all-weather lifeboat (ALB) the Moira Barrie launched today (1st September 2016) to go to the aid of a fishing vessel in difficulties.

The 40ft MV Viking Princess was out on a fishing trip with twelve passengers on board when a rope became entangled around the boat’s propeller.  The ALB launched at 10.26 and soon located the stricken vessel at a point north-west of the outer buoy.  A towline was attached and the boat brought in to Barmouth Harbour where its passengers could disembark safely.

Later that afternoon, at 3.46 pm the volunteer crew were alerted again by HM Coastguard who had received a report from a member of the public of two persons in a rubber ring off Sunnysands Caravan site, Talybont. 

The D Class inshore lifeboat (ILB) the Clive Tanner was launched and the crew located the vessel which turned out to be a 3 metre inflatable boat with three persons aboard. The occupants assured the crew that they were out fishing and not in any trouble.  After advising them to put on their lifejackets, and establishing that they were not at risk, the ILB returned to station and was ready for service again by 4.30 pm.



Barmouth lifeboat blessed at Dedication Service.

The annual re-dedication service for Barmouth RNLI lifeboats, conducted by the Reverend Bethan Bailey, was held on Sunday afternoon, 28th August. 

The all-weather lifeboat, the Moira Barrie, was on display and a congregation of volunteer crew, local supporters and visitors assembled in front of the boathouse for a service of dedication of the Barmouth Lifeboats.

The Reverend Bailey welcomed everyone to the service and invited the congregation to join in a minute’s silence of reflective prayer and thought for the two young lives lost in Barmouth on August 7th.  A service of hymns, prayers and readings followed and the Reverend Bailey reminded those gathered of the very important role the lifeboats serve in our seaside community.  The service concluded with a prayer for the families of those bereaved, for the safety of all those rescued and for the crews who risk their lives to save others.

As the service ended, the pagers rang and the Inshore Lifeboat was called out to a 14 year-old female swimmer in difficulties off Benar Beach. The ILB crew immediately launched at 3.42 pm but were stood down at 3.59 pm when it was reported that the swimmer had been brought ashore and was safe and well.


Barmouth RNLI called out to inflatables.

Barmouth Inshore Lifeboat (ILB) crews were paged yesterday (Tuesday 23rd August) at 3.17pm and launched at 3.21pm to go to the aid of two people in the sea opposite the lifeboat station.

The beach was crowded with holidaymakers on a sunny afternoon with a light north-westerly force 2 wind.  When the ILB arrived at the water’s edge, the two people had been helped ashore by Gwynedd Beach Patrol.

It appeared that a ten-year-old boy, who had been bodyboarding off the beach, panicked when he found he had drifted 100 yards offshore and his father raced in to help him.  The alarm was raised by another holidaymaker, who was in a dinghy nearby, and who stayed with him until he was assisted ashore by the Beach Patrol.

The volunteer crew were then tasked to investigate reports of swimmers in the main channel at the entrance to the harbour where they found a lilo with two swimmers struggling to return to shore against the fast flowing ebb tide.  The ILB stood by until the people were safely back ashore, they then checked out a report of dinghies at the end of the promenade.

The ILB crew were satisfied all casualties were safe and well before returning to the station at 4.00pm and ready for service again by 4.15 pm.

A spokesman for the RNLI said:

‘Swimming in open water is very different from swimming in a pool and we urge people to be aware of tidal conditions before entering the sea. The holidaymaker, Mr Sean Eley from Telford, did exactly the right thing by advising the boy to hold on to his board until help arrived.  Bodyboarding can be fun, but it is important to check the wind and tide conditions and be aware of the risks involved.’


Birmingham City Mayor visits Barmouth RNLI.

On Sunday 21st August, Birmingham City Mayor Carl Rice and Councillor Ian Ward, Deputy Leader of Birmingham City Council visited Barmouth to pay their respects to Birmingham soldiers of the First World War and to the two young boys from Birmingham recently drowned at Barmouth.

High above Barmouth at a point overlooking Cardigan Bay, popularly known as ‘The Peak’, is plaque erected to remember ‘soldiers of Birmingham district who fell at the Somme on 1st July 2016’.  Not many know of this monument, but it is believed to have been placed there by the family of Stanley Ellison of Sutton Coldfield who died at the Somme.

During his visit the party laid wreaths at The Peak and at the War Memorial Cenotaph in Park Road and later visited the Lifeboat Station to thank the RNLI volunteers involved in the search for Waseem Al-Muflehi and Yahya Mohammed, the two Birmingham teenagers who tragically drowned on the afternoon of Sunday 7th August and to leave a wreath in their memory.

Pictured is Mayor Carl Rice presenting a wreath to Barmouth RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager David Baily and Barmouth Mayor Valerie McArdell.


August sunshine brings busy time for Barmouth RNLI.

Barmouth Inshore Lifeboat (ILB) launched at 15.20 on Tuesday 16th August in response to a telephone report from the Harbour Master that two dinghies appeared to be in trouble.

As the ILB launched, the nearer of the two dinghies had just made it back to the beach, the other was about half a mile offshore, near the outer buoy.

The volunteer crew arrived at the scene to discover an inflatable dinghy with three adult men on board.  The men assured the ILB crew they were fine, but none were wearing lifejackets and they had not realised how far out they had drifted. The ILB helmsman explained that there was a force 2 to 3 south easterly offshore wind blowing, he gave further safety advice and the dinghy was brought in to the shore.

The ILB was then re-tasked to another inflatable dinghy believed to have one person on board but this turned out to be an inflatable toy whale. 

On Wednesday evening, 17th August, the crew were paged at 9.54 pm. HM Coastguard had received a report from a person staying at a camp site in Talybont of a red flare being seen in the bay. 

The ILB launched and volunteers searched the area but failed to find anything.  The All-weather lifeboat (ALB), with better search facilities, was launched at 10.18 pm.  Both boats made a thorough search of the bay from Friog corner and up the coast to Dyffryn Ardudwy but failed to spot anything. HM Coastguard then received a call from a person from Fairbourne to say that he had set off two Chinese lanterns earlier in the evening, and one of these may have been mistaken for a flare. It was considered that this event was a false alarm with good intent, so both boats returned to station at 11.30 pm and were ready for service again by 12.30pm

The station was busy all week with visits from holidaymakers needing all sorts of assistance, one being a ten year old boy with a weever fish sting. The little boy was very distressed as these can be extremely painful.  All our RNLI volunteers are trained first-aiders and after receiving the appropriate hot-water treatment (and a few sweets to help) the little boy was soon smiling with his grateful father. The mechanic also treated a dog with a weever fish sting earlier in the week!  It just shows that the lifeboats don’t always have to launch for RNLI volunteers to be of service to the public.


Success for Barmouth RNLI on August Fundraising Day.

Stormy Stan drew in the crowds at the Summer Fundraising Day put on by the Barmouth Branch of the RNLI at the Lifeboat Station on Barmouth promenade on Sunday 14 August.

The all-weather lifeboat, Moira Barrie, was on display out on the beach and crowds enjoyed the stalls, games, tombola, face-painting and barbecue as well as the chance to chat to the crew of the lifeboat station.  Stormy Stan was a big attraction, with young and old queuing up to have their picture taken with him.  The Cox in the Stocks was as popular again this year, with children eager for the opportunity to soak the long-suffering coxswain with wet sponges – some of them getting pretty wet themselves!

With the tragic events of the previous week still present in their minds, fundraisers pulled together to put on the event, mindful of the fact that our crews would not be able to carry out the wonderful work they do without money raised by charitable events such as this Summer Fundraising Day. And there was much interest in the stall set up for the Respect the Water Campaign, where information and advice was available to encourage people to enjoy the coast, but to be aware of the power of the sea and how to stay safe.

Thanks to the dedication of fundraisers and to the generosity of the public, over £1,953.32 was raised on the day, which will be match-funded once again by Barclays Bank with a donation of £1,000.  The RNLI would like to thank Barclays for their continued generosity and to all those who visited for their continued support for this worthy cause.


Barmouth and Aberdyfi RNLI lifeboats in search for missing teenage swimmers

Three RNLI lifeboats were involved in a multi-agency search for two missing teenagers last seen swimming in the sea at Barmouth beach on Sunday 7 August.

The boys were part of a coach party visiting Barmouth for the day and had been swimming off the beach when they got into difficulty and were unable to return to shore. Another member if their party went in to try and help the young boys, but in the blustery wind conditions and high waves he was unsuccessful and had to be helped ashore by members of Barmouth Beach Patrol.

Barmouth RNLI’s inshore lifeboat launched at 1.40pm and the station’s all-weather lifeboat was launched 10 minutes later.
Both lifeboats and their volunteer crews, along with three Coastguard Rescue Teams and a Coastguard Search and Rescue helicopter, searched the area.
Aberdyfi RNLI’s inshore lifeboat was also requested to join the search at 3.20pm and searched an area on the south side of the Barmouth estuary. Welsh Ambulance Service Helimed and North Wales Police also attended. 

A thorough search continued until shortly before 6.30pm when HM Coastguard suspended the sea search and the RNLI lifeboats returned to their respective stations.
The following morning (Monday 8 August) at 9am HM Coastguard requested Barmouth RNLI's inshore lifeboat to re-launch and begin searching an area to the west of Barmouth Harbour at the bridge and in the main channel. Coastguard Rescue Teams from Barmouth, Aberdyfi, Criccieth and Harlech were on scene from 6am conducting shorelines searches. Barmouth Harbour Master and North Wales Police were also on scene and involved in the search operation.

The search was terminated by HM Coastguard ‘pending further information’ on Tuesday. Coastguard officers will continue to patrol the area.

Video of the ILB search http://rnli.org/Pages/Video-Details.aspx?VideoItemID=2XU9Q3bz


Christadelphians clean up for Barmouth RNLI.

A group of youngsters from Handsworth Christadelphian CYC camp arrived at the Lifeboat house on Thursday afternoon, 4th August 2016.

Armed with sponges, soap and brushes and plenty of enthusiasm, the set about a car wash to raise money for the RNLI. The group holiday in Dyffryn Ardudwy each year and wanted to do something to support a local charity.  Passing motorists took advantageous of their generosity and their generous efforts raised £202.54   for the RNLI, the charity that saves lives at sea.


Two Barmouth lifeboats launched to yacht caught in Barmouth bridge

Barmouth ILB was launched at 7.15 pm on Wednesday 3rd August in response to a report from HM Coastguard of a yacht caught in Barmouth bridge. The 25ft motor-sailer Pelican had been swept through the harbour by high winds and the incoming tide and was caught fast on the bridge near the main arch. 

The gusting north westerly gale force winds and tide conditions made it difficult for the ILB to get near the yacht safely, so at 7.35 pm the all-weather lifeboat was launched.  From their position on the bridge, members of HM Coastguard were able to ascertain that there was no-one on board the boat, but the vessel was beating hard against the bridge in the surging waves, its mast level with the track.  It appeared that the boat had dragged its mooring to which it was still attached making it extremely difficult to tow the vessel off.

Although the boat was unoccupied and there were no lives in danger, its position posed a danger to shipping and, in the heavy seas, there was a danger of damage being done to the bridge supports.

High water for the 4.9 metre spring tide was due at 9.41pm and both boats stood by the vessel waiting for slack water and an opportunity to approach the vessel safely. 

When the opportune moment arrived, the ILB put a man aboard the stricken vessel. In the heaving seas, crew member Russ Courtney managed to climb aboard the yacht and cut the mooring cables. He was then recovered to the ILB. 

When the tide turned, Russ again bravely boarded the boat and with extreme skill and caution, the ALB coxswain manoeuvred the lifeboat and passed a towline.  Crew member Russ Courtney was able, with considerable expertise in the rough seas, to attach the towline.

The vessel was pulled off and made safe in the harbour by 10.45 pm.  Both boats returned to the station at 11.30 pm and were ready for service again by 12.15 am.



RNLI come visit us day.

Barmouth RNLI held an extremely successful ‘Come Visit us Day’ on Sunday 31st July 2016.  Organised by Visits Officer Wendy Cleaver with the help of the crew, members of the public were invited to come to the lifeboat house to see the boats at first hand.

The event is held annually to raise awareness of the importance of the RNLI in our seaside community, to thank the public for their support, both locally and nationally, and to give them an insight into how their donations are used.

Fundraisers worked relentlessly from early morning to late afternoon guiding hundreds of visitors, young and old, through the station. Each one had the chance to view the two lifeboats and the tractor, to examine the equipment and to meet and speak with volunteer crew members to learn exactly what happens on a lifeboat shout. The fundraisers worked hard selling refreshments and cakes, and goody bags of RNLI souvenirs were handed out by children of the crew.

Admission was free and although this is not designed to be a fund-raising event, donations made by generous members of the public on the day amounted to over £600 being raised, £230 of which was made by the juniors in donations on their stall.  A sterling effort by our young fundraisers and crew of the future whose efforts will all help provide a first class service to save lives at sea.



Lifesaving tales since the 1820s charted in new Barmouth Lifeboat book.

Almost two centuries of bravery, rescues and tragedies have been collected into a new book on the history of Barmouth lifeboat.

From the awe-inspiring bravery of a Barmouth man who saved seven lives after a shipwreck in 1825, to the story of a binocular glass brought all the way back to the station from Canada 120 years after being awarded to a Barmouth Coxswain, the book charts some of the fascinating tales from the years of saving lives at sea in the town.

The book was written by Norma Stockford, whose family have served on Barmouth lifeboats since 1939 and has volunteered at the station since 1971, and David Baily, who retired from the sea as a Master Mariner in 2009 and is now the station’s Lifeboat Operations Manager.

As part of their painstaking research they drew on Jeff Morris’ previously published history of the station, local Meirionnydd records and visited the RNLI archives department at the charity’s headquarters in Poole. The task was made easier for them thanks to Hugh Roberts allowing them to plunder the extensive collection of photographs on his community website and another important source of information came from the published works of Professor Lewis Lloyd, who has written extensively on the maritime history of Barmouth.

As well as the factual details they decided they would give particular focus to portraying the lives and experiences of the people involved in the station’s creation and the people of Barmouth came up trumps when asked for their assistance and willingly searched their personal and family collections and shared their memories. 

Mrs Margaret Parker, great granddaughter of the first recorded coxswain arrived at the Lifeboat station with photographs and newspaper clippings which proved invaluable. Miss Beryl Morris, whose father and grandfather were coxswains, and other descendantsof early Coxswains all contributed greatly to the research. 

And during the course of her research, Norma, who is also Lifeboat Press Officer at Barmouth RNLI, made a timely and very fortuitous discovery. 

Humphrey Jones was the first named coxswain of Barmouth lifeboat. His obituary, provided by Mrs Parker and taken from the Cambrian News of 25 February 1898, describes Humphrey as ‘a descendant of one of Barmouth’s oldest families’ and said he took up the position of coxswain of the lifeboat in 1866.

The report also stated that when Humphrey retired from the lifeboat service in 1892 he was presented with an illuminated address signed by RNLI Chairman Sir Edward Birkbeck and RNLI Secretary Charles Dibdin, ‘together with a binocular glass, and a purse with £26’.

So it was with great excitement that Norma received an email from Canada from ex- Barmouth resident Peter Davies, great-grandnephew of Humphrey Jones, saying that he had the very binoculars that were presented over 120 years ago, and that he would like to donate them to Barmouth lifeboat station.

Peter and Norma remembered each other from Barmouth Grammar School days and Norma was delighted to see him when he arrived with his family in September 2015 to make the presentation.  Still in their original leather case, the beautiful silver binoculars still work perfectly.  Everyone at that station was delighted that the well-travelled binoculars had come home to Barmouth again.

And Peter himself was delighted to be re-acquainted with an old relative after over 50 years.  Robert Wyn Jones, son of former coxswain Rhys Jones, and he are distant cousins and both descend from that first coxswain.

Another fascinating story told in the book dates back to March 1825, when Barmouth man Edmund Lewis became one of the earliest recipients of the RNLI’s Silver Medal for saving the lives of seven men.

In February of the same year in a violent gale, the crew of the vessel Neptune, which was sailing from New Orleans to Liverpool, abandoned her in Cardigan Bay, North Wales, leaving her drifting in a sinking condition under the high cliffs.  Seven Barmouth men went to her assistance, but, having boarded her, were unable to leave and she was driven ashore by a flood tide three miles from Barmouth.  The ship parted, her upper works drifting under the cliffs, and the men were given up for lost.  Mr Lewis, attaching himself to a rope, descended an awe-inspiring precipice to board the wreck.  Using ropes that he brought down for the purpose, he helped to haul all the men up the cliff to safety.

Names of the early lifeboats and coxswains were not recorded, but the book covers each of the named coxswains from Humphrey Jones in 1866 to today’s present Coxswain, Peter Davies.  It also outlines Barmouth’s heritage as an important shipbuilding centre and tells of shipwrecks and rescues from the nineteenth century, covering heroic stories and tragedies. It tells of brave volunteers, past and present.

Co-author Norma said: ‘A huge part of the Barmouth community contributes in one way or another to the work of their lifeboat station, and to the wonderful atmosphere there on a busy Summer's day - shop volunteers, boat crew, shore crew, fundraisers, the visits coordinator, members of the operations manager's team.

‘All, with the exception of the station mechanic, are volunteers, pulling together in their own way to help ensure that the long and proud tradition of saving life at sea continues in our town for as long as there are people out there needing help.

‘Putting together the book was a very enjoyable and fascinating experience, but I could not have done it without the help of my co-author David.

‘Many people still do not realise that the RNLI is supported entirely from voluntary contributions so for those of us who get so much out of it, it is good to be able to put something back to help the RNLI, the charity that saves lives at sea.’
The book, which costs £8.95, is available from the local RNLI shop in Barmouth or from www.rnlishop.org and all profits will help the RNLI charity to save more lives at sea.

Norma and David pictured onboard the Moria Barrie with copies of their book


Barmouth RNLI Inshore Lifeboat volunteers called to a speedboat in difficulties on Tuesday 26th July.

While setting out on one of its pleasure trips from the harbour area, the Motor Vessel Viking Princess came across a small speedboat with two people on board which appeared to be in difficulties near the point of Ynys y Brawd at the harbour entrance.  The boat’s engine had broken down and it was in danger of being swamped in the main channel.  The skipper of the pleasure boat immediately alerted the RNLI at 1.09 pm and the ILB crew set out to investigate.  They arrived at the scene at 1.20pm, by which time the owner of the boat had managed to restart the engine.  After ensuring that both occupants were well and in no danger, the ILB returned to station.

Inflatables safety message after spate of incidents for Barmouth RNLI

No fewer than 15 people, six dinghies, two kayaks and a lilo were assisted by Barmouth inshore lifeboat in a single day.

The busy day saw a series of shouts for the volunteer lifeboat crew to people on inflatables who had got into difficulty, mostly due to the offshore wind. The spate of incidents has led to Barmouth Coxswain issuing safety advice for people visiting the beach this summer.

It was on Tuesday (19 July) and Barmouth RNLI's inshore lifeboat crew were paged at 12.15pm and launched at 12.21pm to a dinghy approximately three-quarters of a mile out at sea opposite the Primary school on Barmouth promenade. The male occupant was outside the boat trying to propel the dinghy with his legs while his girlfriend tried to row back to shore but the easterly force 1-2, gusting force 3-4 winds prevented them from getting back to the shore without help. When the lifeboat arrived on scene at 12.25pm the casualties had reported that they had fallen asleep and had drifted out.

Before the lifeboat crew had returned them to shore the coastguard alerted the crew to another dinghy slightly south and again in difficulty. After returning the first couple to shore the lifeboat soon recovered the second dinghy before another call came in from the coastguard; again another couple were in difficulty opposite the boathouse and were unable to get back ashore.

The lifeboat finally returned to station after doing a coastal sweep advising all persons in the water with inflatables of the dangers.

Although not recorded as another formal shout, the lifeboat picked up another dinghy with three persons on board towards the north end of the promenade.

The ILB finally returned to station at 1.18pm ready for service at 1.35pm, but just 10 minutes later, they were requested to re-launch yet again to another dinghy with two people on board northwest of the boathouse,100m offshore. By now the wind had increased to force 3. Again, before the casualties were brought ashore, the lifeboat was tasked to Fairbourne with reports of another dinghy in trouble with another three people on board, but thankfully, they turned out not to be needing help.

The lifeboat again returned to station at 2.29pm and was ready for service at 2.45pm. Then at 3pm the volunteer crew administered first aid at boathouse to a man who had stepped on a weever fish.  He was treated with hot water for his foot.

The pagers sounded yet again at 3.43pm and the inshore lifeboat launched two minutes later, again to Fairbourne but this time tasked to two inflatable kayaks. One of the casualties had swum back to shore but the other casualty, a male who had recently undergone knee surgery, was extremely grateful to be rescued  by the volunteer lifeboat crew.

Barmouth RNLI Coxswain Pete Davies said: 'This was an exceptionally busy day for our inshore lifeboat volunteers who rescued or assisted no fewer than 15 people, all of whom had got into difficulty using inflatables. 'Blow-up toys and airbeds are designed for pools, not the sea where they can easily be swept out. If you do use them at the beach, then ensure children are closely supervised, keep near the shore, only use them in safe areas and always follow the lifeguard’s advice, do not take them out in big waves and never use them when there is an offshore wind which will blow inflatables further out to sea.'

Then again on Wednesday (20 July) the lifeboat crew were paged at 11.52am and tasked to another dinghy at the north end of the promenade, with reports of one person on board in trouble. This turned out to be false alarm as the occupant was fishing, so the lifeboat returned to station at 12.30pm and was ready for service at 12.40pm.

Barmouth RNLI Dog Show.

Following popular events in previous years, Barmouth RNLI fundraisers held their fourth Dog Show on Sunday 17th July.  Crowds collected at the Lifeboat Station as owners arrived to enter dogs of all sizes in a variety of categories. Winners and runners up of each category received a certificate and rosette and the event was very ably adjudicated by Amy from Williams’ Veterinary practice.  The show had been organised by RNLI fundraisers and crew, whose hard work realised £339.60 for the RNLI

Best in Show’ was awarded to Alfie the Afghan from Leicester who won best large dog in 2014.

Winning categories:

BEST LARGE DOG:  Titus owned by Sandra Mosses from Wombourne

BEST MEDIUM DOG: Archie – with Louise Green of Walsall

BEST SMALL DOG:   Typin – Carolyn Smith of Barmouth

BEST RESCUE DOG: Cassie, Sarah Denson, Northampton

BEST CHILD WITH DOG:  Iwan Evans with Jessie, from Barmouth

BEST PUPPY:   Davie with Izzy Cleaver from Barmouth

BEST DOG ON HOLIDAY: Alfie with Jake Jarman of Leicester

DOG WITH WAGGIEST TAIL: Oscar, with Abigail Ranson of Loughborough

MOST OBEDIENT DOG: Ci, with Mick Holmes of Llanaber

BEST IN SHOW:  Alfie the Afghan Hound.

The next event will be the Come Visit Us Day on 31st July when members of the public can view the lifeboats and speak to the crew. This will be followed by Annual Fun Day on 14th August.  Both events  will be held at the Lifeboat Station on the promenade at Barmouth and the Inshore and All Weather Lifeboats will be on display. It is a perfect opportunity for everyone to see exactly how their donations help save lives at sea.


Two Barmouth RNLI Lifeboats and helicopter in night rescue.

Both Barmouth RNLI Inshore Lifeboat (ILB) and the All-weather lifeboat (ALB) were launched last night to a report from HM Coastguard of a capsized dinghy.

The 30ft Etap yacht Miss Millie from Wexford, Ireland, had arrived in Barmouth earlier that afternoon on passage from Aberystwyth.  They were accompanied by fellow sailors on Yacht Dido and both boats moored in the harbour.  The crews had rowed ashore earlier in the evening to watch Wales play Portugal in the Euro semi-finals.

The three sailors had been rowing back to their boat when they were swamped by a wave and their boat capsized in the main channel. With the strong ebb tide flowing at 4 to 5 knots, they were soon swept out to sea.

When they were alerted by HM Coastguard the ILB volunteer crew launched immediately at 01.18 and began a search of the harbour and channel as far as Friog in dark and poor visibility and a south westerly force 3 wind. The RNLI ALB the Moira Barrie was also launched at 01.36 and scoured the area with its powerful searchlights.  They were joined by the HM Coastguard Search and Rescue helicopter.

At 0307 the ALB located the casualties who had drifted a considerable distance out over the bar and into the bay. The men had managed to right the dinghy but it was swamped with water, they were very cold and shocked.  None of them were wearing lifejackets.  At 0317 the casualties were taken aboard the ILB and brought ashore to the lifeboathouse where they were able to get showered and warmed before being returned safely to their yacht.
The men returned to the lifeboathouse later that day to thank the crew and said : ‘We were rowing out towards our boat and were in the main channel when a wave hit us and we capsized.  We hadn’t realised how strong the tide was and were soon swept out, but managed to hang on to the boat.  We were in the water for some time before we saw the lifeboat’s searchlights and heard the helicopter. We are very grateful to the crew, they were brilliant.  We will be going back to Ireland tomorrow.’

Both boats returned to the station by 04.45 and were ready for service again by 05.30.


RNLI cyclists visit Barmouth Lifeboat station.

Nineteen cyclists made up of crew and friends of Porthdinllaen Lifeboat arrived at Barmouth Lifeboat Station on Sunday morning, 3 July.  The group, led by Coxswain Mike Davies, were two thirds of their way into a 240-mile cycle ride in aid of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, the charity that saves lives at sea.

Starting at 8.30 am on Friday morning from Porthdinllaen, their route took them through Snowdonia via Llanberis, Penypass and Betws y Coed and then cross-country down to Aberdyfi.  They left Aberdyfi at 9.30 am and looked surprisingly fresh and fit as they arrived on Barmouth Promenade at 10.45 am with their backup support, Porthdinllaen Lifeboat Operations Manager, Ken Fitzpatrick.  They were met by Barmouth Lifeboat volunteers who wished them well on the next leg of their journey to Criccieth, finishing later at Ken’s Ice Cream shop in Aberdaron.

All nineteen of them are raising funds for the RNLI and if you would like to support them you can do so via their Virginmoneygiving page - http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/seiclon2016
or by sending a cheque made payable to RNLI to Porthdinllaen Lifeboat Station, Lon Golff Morfa Nefyn, Gwynedd, LL53 6DA.

Pictured are the nineteen cyclists with RNLI Operations Manager Ken Fitzpatrick.


The Chieftain returns.

Barmouth RNLI received a very welcome gift on Wednesday evening, the 29 June, when Tom Hughes presented his model of the RNLB ‘The Chieftain’ to the Barmouth Lifeboat Station.

Local man Tom grew up on the quay and spent his childhood ‘messing about in boats’.  An ex-fireman himself, Tom has the highest respect for the rescue services and continues to take a keen interest in Barmouth RNLI. The Chieftain was a familiar sight to him in his youth as she launched down the slipway into the harbour.

Tom is well known locally for his artistic talents and exhibits and sells his watercolours and pastels at the annual Mawddach Artists’ Group exhibition, but few knew of his model boatbuilding skills until this evening. The boat was built ‘from scratch’ using reclaimed materials, and Tom succeeded in making an accurate and very realistic replica of this memorable boat.

The Chieftain, a 35’6” non-self-righting Liverpool Class boat, served in Barmouth from March 1949 until 1982, during which time she saved 132 lives.  Possibly Barmouth’s most iconic boat, The Chieftain is the one lifeboat that everyone remembers, and she is still very much alive.  Now owned by Tony Gatt and moored in Bristol she has been beautifully restored to her original condition.  And she has recently become something of a celebrity, taking part in the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Pageant on the Thames in 2012.

During the evening, crew members past and present recalled their memories of this special boat.  Coxswain Peter Davies said ‘On behalf of the station, I would like to thank Tom for his skill, patience and the many hours he has spent on lovingly producing this model of The Chieftain, a boat that will always be very important to us in Barmouth.  It will take pride of place in our station gallery.

Pictured L to R:
1. The Chieftain’s former mechanic, Dewi Wyn Davies, Tom Hughes, Jinny Jeffs, (wife of Ken Jeffs, last coxswain of The Chieftain), ex-crew member Harry Allday and Peter Phillips, ex-RNLI coxswain.
2. Tom Hughes and Coxswain Peter Davies with The Chieftain.

3. Model of The Chieftain.


Barmouth RNLI called out to jet boat in difficulties.

While on exercise at the start of the Barmouth to Fort William Three Peaks Yacht Race, the Barmouth Inshore Lifeboat was called out by HM Coastguard Holyhead at 2.01pm on 11th June 2016.

A report had been received that a 17foot jet boat was experiencing engine difficulties one mile off Sunbeach Caravan Park, Llwyngwril.  As they were in the vicinity, the Barmouth RNLI ILB immediately proceeded to the location and took the Seadoo personal watercraft with three persons on board in tow and returned the boat and its occupants to Penrhyn Point, Fairbourne.

The Inshore Rescue boat returned to the station and was ready for service by 15.30.


Barmouth RNLI Inshore Lifeboat called out to Three Peaks Yacht Race sailors.

Barmouth RNLI Inshore Lifeboat (ILB) crew volunteers launched last night (Wednesday 8th June) at 10.40 pm in response to a report from a member of the public that a dinghy carrying three people was experiencing difficulties in the channel at the entrance to Barmouth harbour.

The sailors, participants in the Barmouth to Fort William Three Peaks Yacht Race which starts from Barmouth on Saturday 11th June, were attempting to get back to their yacht in dark and foggy conditions.  The tide was flooding fast as they made their way to their yacht moored in the main channel and they were last seen being swept towards the bridge.
On launching, the ILB crew discovered the dinghy at Trwyn y Gwaith, the point of Ynys y Brawd, struggling to make their way through the back eddy in the main channel.  The occupants reported that they had seen a second boat which also appeared to be in difficulties in the strong tide, so after ensuring that the sailors were safely aboard their yacht, the ILB continued with a thorough two-hour search of the harbour area and the estuary up as far as Farchynys.

In the meantime the three sailors on the second boat reported to be in trouble had made their way back into the harbour, but could not be seen because of the descending fog.  They reported to the Yacht Club and the Lifeboat Station in order to assure the rescue services that they were safe.  The ILB returned to station at 1.15 a.m.

Second Coxswain Rob Williams said: ‘The water in this area is notoriously unpredictable, with strong eddies and hidden currents that can drag you out in seconds; even experienced sailors can get caught out.  We would urge anyone, no matter how short your journey, to make sure your craft is suitable for purpose and that each person is wearing a lifejacket.’

The incident coincided with coastal fatality figures released on 9 June by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution which show 20 people lost their lives around Wales’s coast last year, the highest number since 2011.

The figures are released as the charity enters the third year of its national drowning prevention campaign, Respect the Water, which aims to halve accidental coastal deaths by 2024.

The campaign is targeted at adult men, who account for by far the most incidents. Last year saw an increase in the number of men losing their lives on the Welsh coast. Between 2011 and 2014, men accounted for three-quarters (75%) of Welsh coastal deaths but, in 2015, this increased to 85%.


Barmouth RNLI tows in yacht.

Barmouth RNLI Inshore Lifeboat volunteer crew was paged at 10.16 on Saturday 4th June to go to the aid of a yacht in trouble off Mochras with two persons on board.

The Criccieth Lifeboat had launched earlier to a broken down Dory in the area when the nearby yacht also experienced engine trouble.  Criccieth ILB initially took the boat in tow but because of the volume of calls in the area that day, the Barmouth boat was tasked to take over.

The skipper of the sailing yacht had just taken delivery of his 20ft Hurley from Shell Island and was on his way to Barmouth when the outboard engine failed.  The weather was fair with a very light north-westerly breeze blowing, but the yachtsman was concerned that there might not have been enough wind to sail the boat into Barmouth harbour against the 5 knot ebb tide.  There was no VHF on board.

Barmouth ILB attached a line to the boat and towed it in to a mooring in Barmouth harbour where the crew were met by members of HM Coastguard at 11.50 am.

Crew of the yacht, Richard Balagan was full of praise for the RNLI.  ‘The RNLI were brilliant’ he said ‘we are very grateful for their help, they were absolutely top class.’


Yacht goes aground crossing Barmouth bar.

Barmouth RNLI volunteer crew were paged today at 12.54pm to a yacht stranded on Ynys y Brawd near the north perch. The 8 metre sailing vessel Jay Giny was hard aground when the Inshore Lifeboat (ILB) arrived.

The skipper of the yacht was attempting a circuit of the UK and Barmouth was, unluckily for him, his thirteenth stop. The boat was equipped with all the charts and almanacs required for the trip and the yachtsman was wearing a life jacket, but misjudged the channel and tried to cross the Bar at low water. 

Although he was not in any imminent danger, the ILB crew took the gentleman ashore where the Harbour Master’s team were able to give him the necessary advice and information to enable him to continue his journey when there was enough water for him to do so safely. The ILB returned to the boathouse and was ready for service at 2.10pm





Fine weather brings a busy time for Barmouth RNLI.

The Barmouth D Class Inshore Lifeboat (ILB) The Rotarian Clive Tanner arrived back from Cowes after a refit at midday on Wednesday 1st June 2016 and was called out almost as soon as it was back in service.

In response to a request from HM Coastguard at Holyhead, the ILB was launched at 1.00pm to a report of a dinghy which had capsized and four or five persons were in the water off Fairbourne beach with a fresh north easterly offshore wind blowing.

When the volunteer crew arrived at the scene, it transpired that there had been two women, a mother and daughter, on board the inflatable boat when it capsized throwing both women into the water.  Another family on the beach witnessed the event and called for the rescue services while two men went in to their aid.  The mother had swallowed a lot of water and was unconscious so one of the men, an off-duty policeman, had begun CPR when the ILB arrived at the scene.  The woman revived and the volunteer crew of the ILB administered oxygen to the casualty before handing her over to the Welsh Ambulance Service.  Both women were taken to Bronglais Hospital.

Later that afternoon, the crew were paged at 4.12pm and launched at 4.16 to a report of a child in a dinghy off Sunnysands Caravan Site, Talybont.  The eight-year-old girl was alone in a rubber dinghy and the fresh easterly force 3 to 4 offshore wind had blown the small boat out to sea, while her anxious grandparents watched from the beach.  Initially, a nearby jetski went to the child’s aid, but that broke down and also drifted further out. 

When the volunteer crew of the ILB arrived on the scene, the little girl had been picked up by a local fishing boat, the Viking Princess, which was in the area.  The little girl was wearing a wetsuit and had the presence of mind to stay in the boat until help arrived.  She was transferred to the ILB and brought back to the shore where members of HM Coastguard were waiting with her grateful grandparents. 

Meanwhile, the owner of the jetski was able to make his own way back to the shore and the ILB returned to station at 4.55pm.


Barmouth Lifeboat launches twice for missing youngsters.

Barmouth RNLI Inshore Lifeboat launched at 11.58 am on Monday 30th May 2016, in response to a report received from HM Coastguard that a child was mssing.
The child, a four year-old boy, had been playing in a pool on Ynys y Brawd when the parents looked up to find he was nowhere to be seen.  The parents had searched for the boy for over thirty minutes before alerting the Coastguard.

The Inshore Lifeboat launched and the volunteer crew were on the scene at 12.02 pm and began a search of the busy beach and coastline.  Almost immediately, HM Coastguard reported that the child had been found some distance away on the main beach by the water’s edge and was soon reunited with his anxious parents.  The volunteer crew returned to station by 12.20 pm.

Later that evening, at 6.08 pm the ILB was launched again to a report of two young females missing off Ynys y Brawd. The girls had gone down towards the perch where one had slipped, banging her head on the stony beach.  Both were out of sight of their parents who alerted HM Coastguard.

The girls were soon located and brought to the Lifeboathouse where they were checked over and reunited with their parents.


Generous donation to Barmouth RNLI.

The Matthews family visited Barmouth Lifeboat Station on Sunday 29th May 2016 to make a donation to the RNLI in memory of their parents Joan and Des Matthews of Wimbledon.

Mr and Mrs Matthews had been life-long supporters of the RNLI, and enjoyed many holidays in Barmouth, first coming to stay at the Jesuit House in Llanaber over thirty years ago. The family still come to Barmouth each year and look forward to enjoying the music at many more of the Boathouse Rocks events held each Spring Bank Holiday.

Pictured are four generations of the Matthews family presenting their donation of £500 to coxswain Peter Davies in front of the All-Weather Lifeboat the ‘Moira Barrie’


Barmouth - The Boathouse rocks for the RNLI.

On Bank Holiday Sunday, 29th  May, enthusiastic fundraisers from Barmouth RNLI again turned out  to raise money for their favourite charity at the annual ‘Boathouse Rocks’ event.  From 12 noon the lifeboat house on the promenade was alive with non-stop music provided by local groups and musicians who came together and generously gave their services free to the RNLI for the day.

The lifeboats were put on the beach ready to launch and crowds gathered outside the boathouse to listen to the music and join in the fun.  The tombola stall, with many wonderful prizes was a great success, home-baked cakes were on sale and the coxswain and crew served up tasty pork baps to hungry holidaymakers.
Barmouth RNLI Treasurer June Davies was delighted to report that the day raised over £1,600 towards RNLI funds; a truly marvellous result once again.  Barmouth RNLI would like to offer their sincere thanks to all the bands for performing all afternoon and for their continued support to the charity that saves lives at sea.  It is hoped that this hugely popular and enjoyable day will be repeated again next year.


Barmouth RNLI launch to man overboard.

Barmouth RNLI Inshore Lifeboat (ILB) launched on Sunday 22nd May 2016 in response to a call from HM Coastguard to a man who had fallen overboard from a small boat on the bar.
The volunteer crew were paged at 11.47 and launched the ILB immediately. 

The men, both from Fairbourne, knew the area well and had left Fairbourne at 9 am for a morning’s fishing in their 19ft Orkney Fastliner.  They were returning home in Force 3 to 4 south-westerly winds and on an ebb tide when the boat suddenly broached on the bar, throwing one of the men into the water.  His colleague took over the controls and tried to haul the man back aboard, but was hampered by the huge waves breaking in the shallow water.  He struggled to try and steer the boat into calmer water, while still hanging on to his friend whose waist-high waders filled up with water and  made the rescue even more difficult, but he was eventually dragged back into the boat. Neither man was wearing a lifejacket, nor were there any on board.  They were able to make their way back to Barmouth harbour to waiting members of HM Coastguard and where the Barmouth ILB crew quickly administered first aid and gave the casualty oxygen until the NHS Ambulance arrived.

NHS Ambulance paramedics assessed the injured man who had suffered a blow to the head, was hypothermic and had swallowed a great deal of water. He was taken to Bronglais Hospital in Aberystwyth for further treatment.

But for the speedy intervention of the three emergency services, the outcome of this fishing trip might have been very different.

(The picture shows the ILB and the fishing boat alongside the quay with ILB crew and Ambulance personnel.)

Barmouth RNLI called out to dinghy in difficulties

At 3 pm on Saturday 15th May, Barmouth RNLI volunteer crew were alerted to what was initially reported to be an abandoned dinghy.  The crew attended the scene and spotted a dinghy on the foreshore of Penrhyn Point, near Fairbourne.  It appeared that three men had launched the dinghy into the main channel from a point near the perch off Ynys y Brawd and had been swept by the incoming tide and a northwesterly force 2 to 3 wind down towards Penrhyn Point.

While the crew were at the scene the men emerged from the sand dunes and relaunched the dinghy.  They struggled to paddle back in the fast running tide in the channel and were being swept towards Barmouth Bridge.  However, the volunteer lifeboat crew were able to go to their aid by paddling in the chest-high water to reach the boat and drag it and its occupants back to the shore where they were given safety advice.

Since the barrage across the north channel between the mainland and Ynys y Brawd was erected in the1970s, there has been a considerable build-up of wind-blown sand making access to the island much easier for the public.  As a consequence, more and more people venture out towards the perch and are in danger of being cut off by the tide or getting into trouble in the fast flowing waters of the main channel.

Coxswain Peter Davies said: ‘The water in this area can be unpredictable, with waves, tides and hidden currents that can drag you out to sea in seconds.  We would urge anyone to check the weather and tide times before putting to sea, to make sure your craft is suitable for purpose and that each person is wearing a lifejacket.’

RNLI Fundraiser honoured

At a meeting of Barmouth and District RNLI Fundraisers, Committee and volunteer crew members on 9th May 2016, Deborah Ferns, Community Fundraising Manager for North Wales and the West presented the RNLI’s gold badge to Sheila Walker in recognition of her contribution to fundraising activities over 41 years.

Sheila joined the RNLI in 1975 and has been an integral member of the fundraising committee since then.  She served for many years as Box Secretary and has regularly provided help at Barmouth Lifeboat Fundraising events, whatever the weather.  The award recognises her significant contribution to the RNLI.

Fundraising Chairman, Wendy Ponsford, said ‘This award is in recognition of the many hours of hard work which Sheila has given to the RNLI. All those involved in the Barmouth and District Branch are delighted to hear of this very well-deserved honour. She is a great example to us all.’

A special cake to mark the occasion was made by Eve Williams, wife of the Second Coxswain and Sheila was also presented with flowers from the Coxswain and Fundraisers.


Barmouth RNLI Inshore Lifeboat launches to two persons in a dinghy

Barmouth RNLI Inshore Lifeboat (ILB) launched yesterday to a report that two people were in difficulties in an inflatable dinghy. The volunteer crew were alerted at 15.58 and quickly launched at 16.01. The casualty was spotted approximately 100 m offshore opposite the primary school on Barmouth promenade. The two young ladies aboard were not wearing lifejackets and were struggling to try and make it to the shore against the Force 2 to 3 south easterly offshore winds and an ebb tide. The volunteer crew took the dinghy in tow and returned the casualties to the shore where they were met by members of HM Coastguard. The ILB crew then made a thorough search of the area and the coastline to ensure that no-one else was in danger before returning to the station at 16.30. The boat was ready for service again by 16.35.

RNLI Coastal Review team visit Barmouth Lifeboat Station

On Wednesday 6th April 2016, the Coastal Review team from RNLI Headquarters at Poole visited Barmouth Lifeboat Station. A review of all the RNLI Lifeboat Stations takes place every five years and this week the team visited stations on the west coast of Wales from Fishguard to Porthdinllaen. The purpose of the review is to see how stations are working in each area, and to decide if any changes might be needed to ensure that the RNLI continues to deliver lifesaving around the coast in the most effective, safe and viable manner. The team of volunteers and professionals was headed by Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence, Chairman of the RNLI Operations Committee together with representatives of Operations, Engineering and Asset Management and Community Lifesaving. The event was extremely well attended with representatives of the Barmouth RNLI management committee, fundraisers and volunteer crew members as well as HM Coastguard personnel. The team were escorted around the station where they viewed the all-weather and inshore lifeboats, their tour included a visit to the RNLI shop and museum display. They spoke with volunteer crew members and fundraisers before continuing their journey to Criccieth.

Barmouth RNLI volunteers brave the icy seas

Storm Frank’s cold easterly winds were not enough to deter the hardy volunteers of Barmouth RNLI from taking their annual dip into the waters of Cardigan Bay once again on New Year’s Day.

Despite the weather, crowds of supporters battled through to watch over 40 people take the plunge to raise money for the RNLI. At 11 am, on the instructions of Coxswain Peter Davies, they raced down the beach and threw themselves into the icy waters, some in fancy dress, one or two in wetsuits, and some in very little at all! 
And it wasn’t just the swimmers who enjoyed the excitement, the crew were joined again this year by friends and visitors from far and wide. Gricela and Izabella from New York staying with  friends from Llanelltyd joined in and Debbie and Tom said the sea was much warmer in Barmouth than in their home town of Scarborough. They all brought a welcome splash of colour and fun to the first day of January 2016 on Barmouth beach.

Hot drinks and a warming barbecue breakfast were served in the Lifeboat station, and the canons were again fired at noon in remembrance of past crew members.
The crew and volunteers are extremely grateful to locals and visitors for their continuing generosity to the RNLI, and wish to thank everyone for their support to the charity that saves lives at sea.

Casualty care course for Barmouth RNLI volunteers

Twelve volunteer crew members of the Barmouth RNLI have been undergoing a Casualty Care course this year. The 20-hour course was held on two evenings a week over four weeks under the instruction of one of the Sea Survival and First Aid Instructors employed by the RNLI and focuses on effective hands-on treatment.The RNLI volunteers are trained to treat a whole range of injuries and illnesses as well as being taught to use the various specialist pieces of first aid equipment which are carried on board the lifeboats.

Coxswain Peter Davies, who also attended the course, commented;
'This training course has equipped the crew with the skills and confidence to enable them to deal with the various types of medical emergency situation they may get involved with. It is particularly reassuring to know that we are able to have a fully trained crew on board, ready to deal with any emergency or accident situation they may encounter during the busy summer season ahead. I am very impressed by the commitment shown by the crew to complete this intensive course over the past four weeks.'

Each year the RNLI invests thousands of pounds to provide essential training for the Barmouth based volunteer lifeboat crew, all of which is funded by voluntary donations.

Mechanic’s gift proves a life-saver.

When Llew Griffin retired from his post of mechanic with the Barmouth RNLI in 2015, little did he think that his retirement gift would turn out to be so useful, so soon.

A keen single-handed sailor, Llew was looking forward to spending his free time sailing his yellow trimaran, Cayman, which he kept in Barmouth harbour. So it was appropriate that his farewell gift from the coxswain and crew should be an ergonomic ocean lifejacket with light and hood and a personal locator beacon for use when he is braving the elements alone offshore.

On a beautiful October day in 2015, with a light easterly Force 2 to 3 breeze, Llew decided to take out his brother-in-law, Simon, who was visiting from America, for a spin out in the bay. His guest was not an experienced sailor, so before they set off from the quayside, Llew sensibly offered him his new lifejacket to wear as they set off to the mooring in their inflatable dinghy.

It is well known that one of the most common causes of ‘man-overboard’ incidents occurs between the shore and the parent vessel, and as his brother in law was transferring from the dinghy to the trimaran, he fell into the water. What ensued, says Llew, was like watching one of the RNLI training videos on Man Overboard Recovery procedures.

One of the first things to look out for is cold water shock, the body's short term involuntary response to being suddenly immersed in cold water. Although the water wasn’t particularly cold, Simon displayed one of the classic physiological responses - a ‘gasp’ response which can sometimes result in water being breathed rather than air. Instinctively, Llew’s RNLI training came into use. He knew that these responses can contribute to a feeling of panic, but as soon as Simon hit the water, the life-jacket immediately inflated and his head was kept above the water. They were fortunate that the wind and tide conditions enabled them to drift slowly back to the harbour where they landed safely on the slip.

‘It shows that it could happen to anybody’, said Llew. ‘In over 25 years of sailing and serving on the lifeboat I have seen it happen to others, but this was a first for my boat, and the lifejacket worked so quickly, he didn’t even get his face wet.’

‘I am grateful for the training I have received from the RNLI over the years and will continue to insist that lifejackets should be worn, for even the shortest of trips. It’s also essential to keep rearming kits for each lifejacket on board so that they can be ready for use again straight away.’


RNLI media contacts For more information please contact Norma Stockford, Barmouth Lifeboat Press Officer on 07917 245882 or Chris Cousens, RNLI Press Officer, Wales and West, on 07748 265496 or 01745 585162 or by email on Chris_Cousens@rnli.org.uk.


For further information about these News items please contact
Norma Stockford, Barmouth lifeboats volunteer press officer
on 01341 280742 or 07917 245882, or email her at our contacts page


or Danielle Rush, RNLI Divisional Media Relations Manager Wales and West on 01745 585162 / 07786 668829

and you can also visit the official RNLI Press Centre at :-

RNLI online

For more information on the RNLI please visit www.rnli.org.uk. News releases and other media resources, including RSS feeds, downloadable photos and video, are available at the RNLI Press Centre www.rnli.org.uk/press

Key facts about the RNLI

The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates over 230 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and has more than 100 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824 its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 137,000 lives.

A charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SCO37736). Charity number CHY 2678 in the Republic of Ireland