RNLI - Barmouth Lifeboat Station

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RNLI announces important changes in Cardigan Bay

The RNLI has announced important changes to the lifeboat service provided by the charity in Cardigan Bay. Pwllheli and Barmouth RNLI lifeboat stations will each be allocated a 25-knot Shannon class all-weather lifeboat whilst New Quay RNLI will be allocated a faster Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat (B class) to respond to those in trouble around the coast.

Both Pwllheli and Barmouth Lifeboat Stations’ new Shannon class lifeboat will replace their existing Mersey class lifeboats and will operate alongside their existing D class inshore lifeboats. The new 35-knot Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat at New Quay will replace the station’s existing Mersey class all-weather lifeboat and will complement the station’s D class inshore lifeboat.

All three stations (Pwllheli, Barmouth and New Quay) currently operate 17-knot Mersey class all-weather lifeboats. As all three Mersey lifeboats in Cardigan Bay are nearing the end of their operational life and the RNLI has taken the opportunity to look at the most effective combination of new, faster lifeboats for future lifesaving in the area.

New Quay’s all-weather lifeboat will not leave Ceredigion until the Shannon class lifeboats are stationed at Barmouth and Pwllheli and New Quay’s new Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat arrives for service. This is unlikely to happen before 2020. Pwllheli and Barmouth are due to get their Shannon class lifeboats after building work to modify the lifeboat stations is completed in the next few years.

The decision was made as a result of the RNLI’s five-year coast review* process where the charity decides the best use of its rescue assets within each area. The coast review considers the number and types of rescues carried out by each lifeboat, changing trends and water use within the area, search and rescue demands, costs, as well as future needs.

As part of the new coast review process, each lifeboat station involved is invited to feed into the review to help build an all-round picture for consideration.

George Rawlinson, RNLI Operations Director explains:
‘This is an important change for the RNLI in Cardigan Bay as we continue to improve the lifeboat service around the coast. The capability and standards of our lifeboats are constantly developing and improving; resulting in safer, more advanced lifeboats for our volunteer crews. The Mersey class all-weather lifeboats have served the area well, but as the Shannon class lifeboat is slowly introduced across the coast our volunteer crews will be able to respond quicker – and travel further – to help those in trouble at sea.

‘As a result of the improved capabilities of all of the charity’s lifeboats, the RNLI have decided to allocate Pwllheli and Barmouth a Shannon class all-weather lifeboat. From 2020 New Quay RNLI’s service will change from an all-weather lifeboat to the quicker, more manoeuvrable Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat. It’s the RNLI’s fastest lifeboat within the fleet – with the ability to travel up to 35 knots when responding to callouts.’

George continues:
‘Changing the type of lifeboat at a station is never a decision that’s taken lightly – we understand the attachment a crew feel for an all-weather lifeboat that has kept them safe at sea for many years. The decision to replace the all-weather lifeboat at New Quay was underpinned by extensive research of records going back to 2008. It concluded that services by New Quay RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat could have been carried out safely and effectively by an Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat, supported by 25-knot lifeboats at neighbouring stations if required. We understand that this decision will be difficult for New Quay lifeboat station, however we are confident that this is the best rescue asset to service this stretch of coast as we look to the future in Cardigan Bay.’

*The RNLI coast review took into account extensive information from 2012-2015. The information considered included: detailed reports of launches and incidents carried out by the lifeboat stations, data from the National Water Incident Database (WAID) and a combination of open sources, as well as information gathered in face-to-face meetings and workshops at the lifeboat station both before and after the Coast Review visits to ensure any local knowledge or concerns were captured.

About the Shannon class all-weather lifeboat

The £2.2M Shannon class lifeboat, which was designed to replace the Mersey and Tyne class lifeboats, is the first modern all-weather lifeboat to be propelled by waterjets instead of traditional propellers, making her the most agile and manoeuvrable all-weather lifeboat yet. Reaching top speeds of 25 knots, the Shannon is nearly 50% faster than the Mersey, giving crews the ability to reach and assist casualties faster when time is of the essence.

About the Atlantic 85 class inshore lifeboat

The £214,000 Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat is one of the fastest in the RNLI fleet, reaching top speeds of 35 knots. Although the inshore lifeboat is designed to operate in shallower water, the B class can handle fairly challenging open sea conditions – with the ability to operate in force 7 near gale winds in daylight and force 6 at night. The Atlantic 85 can carry four lifeboat crew as well as a number of casualties when responding to incidents on the coast.

Second launch of the day for Barmouth Inshore Lifeboat

In response to a request from UK Coastguard, Barmouth Inshore Lifeboat (ILB) launched for the second time on Wednesday 21 June 2017.

A report had been received from a member of the public that the occupants of an inflatable dinghy appeared to be in trouble. The dinghy, with two persons on board waving their arms to attract attention, was being blown offshore by the easterly wind.

The crew were paged at 1.44 pm and were with the boat, about 500 yards offshore, in a couple of minutes. The vessel and its occupants were soon safely returned to the shore and the boat returned to station at 1.58 pm.

Early morning shout for Barmouth RNLI

While Barmouth RNLI volunteer crew member Russ Courtney was walking his dog during the early hours of Wednesday 21 June 2017, he was approached by a member of the public concerned about a group of males whom he had just seen launch a dinghy in the harbour.

Three males had been seen dragging an inflatable tender along the pontoon and rowing out into the darkness. It was warm evening with an easterly force 3 to 4 wind blowing.

Aware of the dangers of crossing the fast-flowing main channel in the dark, the crew member contacted the UK Coastguard who immediately authorised a launch of the Inshore Lifeboat (ILB).

The volunteer crew were paged at 01.17am and launched at 01.25. Senior helms Russ Courtney and Richard Jones along with crew member Alex Hill quickly located a yacht on the far side of the harbour with its masthead light on. On speaking to one of the five persons on board the yacht, it transpired that the tender was on its second run when it was spotted by the vigilant local man. When it was established that no-one was in danger and that all were safe aboard the yacht, the ILB departed the scene at 01.35 am and returned to station and ready for service again at 01.50 am.

Credit is due to the RNLI volunteers who turned out at such a late hour. No fewer than 18 crew members and shore crew turned up and stood by ready to launch the all-weather lifeboat should it have been necessary. The incident bore similarities to the shout to three Irish sailors swept out to sea in the main channel and whose lives were saved by Barmouth RNLI a year ago.

Coxswain Pete Davies said: ‘Again, it was a very good turn out from the station. I am very glad that all the crew on the yacht were safe and well. They did the right thing by alerting us, it is always better to be safe than sorry.’


Heatwave keeps Barmouth RNLI busy at sea and on shore

With the beaches packed with holidaymakers, Barmouth RNLI crew volunteers were on alert at the lifeboathouse, prepared for a busy few days.

At 12.11 pm on Sunday 18 June they were tasked by UK Coastguard to go to the aid of a RIB drifting in Muddy Hollow, north of Sarn Badrig, approximately 12 miles away.

The all-weather lifeboat, the Moira Barrie launched at 12.20 pm and was with the casualty at 13.24. The two men on board had been fishing when the vessel suffered engine failure and they were unable to return to shore. A tow rope was attached to the boat and they were towed in to Caerddaniel caravan site off Llanaber. The men were taken ashore by Barmouth Inshore Lifeboat volunteers who also attended.

On their return, as the ALB approached the shore at Barmouth, they received a call from the Harbour Master asking them to delay recovery because an eight year-old boy was missing in the area. A shoreline search of the very crowded beach was started and, fortunately, the boy was soon located by the waiting shore crew and taken to his parents by the Harbour Master.

Later in the afternoon, after the ALB returned to the boathouse, the second coxswain received a call from an anxious mother that her eight-year-old was missing on the beach in front of the boathouse. The father also arrived and gave an accurate description of the youngster. With the aid of powerful RNLI binoculars, the eight-year-old, in distinctive red shorts, was spotted by the coxswain and was soon reunited with his grateful parents.

School hold Bake Off in support of Barmouth RNLI

Year 6 children from Wodensfeld Primary School in Wolverhampton held a Bake Off cake competition at their school in May 2017 to raise funds for the RNLI. 17 children took part and the standard of entries was very high. The money raised was donated to Barmouth RNLI when they visited the station on Tuesday 13 June. The children met members of the volunteer lifeboat crew and were shown around the Inshore and the all-weather lifeboats. Visits Officer Eve Williams said: ‘The children were very interested to see the boats and to know how RNLI volunteers save lives at sea. They left a delightful record of their achievements for the crew to see how the money was raised.’


Great excitement for WI visit to Barmouth Lifeboat station. 

Ladies from Llanfair Women’s Institute had a very exciting time during their visit to Barmouth Lifeboat Station on Thursday afternoon15 June 2017.  They were being shown around by Visits Officer Eve Williams and members of the volunteer crew when the crew pagers rang at 2.17 pm.

They had been tasked by UK Coastguard to go to the aid of a person in the water in the Mawddach Estuary. There were reports of a windsurfer and kayaker being involved. The Inshore Lifeboat (ILB) was launched at 2.22 and on arrival at the scene they found a 64 year-old windsurfer in the middle of the estuary near Mawddach Crescent with a person in a kayak nearby.
Sea conditions were quite rough with a south-westerly force 5 to 6 wind blowing. The windsurfer had lost his board and was up to his neck in water on a sandbank, holding fast on to the sail when the volunteer crew arrived.  His friend in the kayak was close by but was unable, in the strong wind, to help his friend to safety.

The casualty was taken aboard the ILB to Aberamffra Harbour where he was checked over by NHS Ambulance Service personnel.  The gentleman was shaken, but no further medical intervention was required, and the volunteer crew returned to the station at 2.46 pm.

Pauline Bedson of Llanfair WI said:

‘We were being shown around the ILB when the pagers went off and the volunteer crew told us they were about to launch.  We were very impressed by the speed and efficiency of the operation and it was very exciting to see the lifeboat launch at first hand.’

The following day, the kayaker called at the boathouse and spoke to second coxswain Rob williams who had helmed the ILB the previous day.

He said:
I want to thank you and the crew for the rescue yesterday.  There is no better feeling in the world when you are up to your neck in water than to see that little lifeboat coming towards you. Thank you so much for all you do’.


Boathouse Rocks yet again for Barmouth RNLI

Just in time, the changeable weather took a turn for the better on Sunday 28 May 2017 for the immensely popular Boathouse Rocks music event in aid of Barmouth RNLI. 

The wind dropped and the temperature rose as Batala Bermo opened the event with their magnificent drumming, drawing crowds to the RNLI Boathouse on the promenade.  The all-weather lifeboat, the Moira Barrie, was towed on to the beach to make room for local groups who generously gave their time and talents free and crowds soon assembled to listen to the music, and to enjoy the freshly served pork baps and home-baked cakes.  Families, holidaymakers and locals all turned out to soak up the atmosphere at a superb afternoon’s entertainment.

The ever-faithful Roy Ellis with Al Dean and the band performed with Gwynfor and Donna Morris, Chris Knowles, Anna Lewis and the Welfare Mothers and many other stalwart supporters.  And this year we were treated to some new young talent in the form of Callum Wright from Nantwich.  The audience were spellbound by a very impressive performance from this 18 year-old singer/songwriter who is surely destined for success.

Coxswain Peter Davies said ‘We are very grateful for the continued support we get from our local musicians and to the crew and fundraisers, who worked tirelessly from early morning to make the day such a huge success.  They enabled us to raise £1,765.68 from the event. I would like to extend my sincere thanks to everyone for their unstinting generosity. It was a great afternoon.’

Busy day for Barmouth RNLI

Barmouth’s beaches were packed with holidaymakers enjoying the sunshine on Friday 26th May 2017 and members of UK Coastguard, the local Harbour Master and RNLI volunteers were on alert keeping a watchful eye on the many people using the water in the hot weather.

When the UK Coastguard paged them at 10.47am the RNLI Inshore Lifeboat (ILB) crew quickly launched to go to the aid of two persons in a rubber dinghy being blown offshore by the easterly wind.

They reached the scene, about a third of a mile out, at 10.54 am to find the occupants trying to row back, but without success.  They were brought back to the shore and the dangers of using a small inflatable boat in an offshore wind were explained to them.

Later at 01.33 pm the volunteer crew launched the ILB once more to another rubber dinghy, again with two people on board, this time about 150 metres offshore.   Both persons were brought back to the shore and handed to the care of the Harbour Master.

The ILB returned to station and was ready for service again at 2.05 pm.

Barmouth RNLI Inshore Lifeboat and helicopter tasked to person in the water in Cardigan Bay

At the request of UK Coastguard, Barmouth RNLI Inshore Lifeboat (ILB) was paged at 08.16 pm on Sunday 21 May 2017 to a report of a person in the water between Dyffryn Ardudwy and Shell Island.The SAR 936 helicopter was also tasked.

The sea was calm and the weather good when the volunteer RNLI crew launched at 08.22. They reached the scene at 08.38 pm to find one adult male in the water who had apparently come off his jet ski and had been swept out on the ebb tide 5 miles west of Shell Island. The man, who was shaken and cold, was taken aboard the ILB and kept warm while a tow was attached to the jetski. The man and his vessel were then returned to the care of UK Coastguard on the shore at Sunnysands, and no further medical assistance was required.

The ILB returned to station and was ready for service again at 21.40.

Barmouth RNLI launch to Motor cruiser

At a request from UK Coastguard, Barmouth RNLI were paged at 5.55pm on Sunday 7th May 2017 to go to the aid of a Motor Cruiser with three people on board which had broken down off Barmouth.

It was a fine, sunny afternoon with moderate sea conditions and a north-westerly force 3 wind.  The All Weather Lifeboat (ALB) the Moira Barrie was launched at 6.00pm and located the 26ft cruiser off Barmouth Outer Buoy, but was unable initially to establish communication with the vessel.  At this point, Rebecca Jayne, a fishing vessel from Shell Island who were near the broken down cruiser, offered to help pass on any communications.
When Barmouth ALB arrived at the scene, Equinox had been taken in tow by a 7metre rigid inflatable boat (RIB), the Flash Tango, so the ALB continued to escort both vessels into Barmouth harbour.   After the motor cruiser had been put on her mooring, Flash Tango, with two adults and two children aboard, then also broke down. The volunteer crew of the ALB then attached a rope to the RIB and she was towed to the pontoon alongside the harbour wall.  All occupants of both boats were wearing life jackets.

The ALB then left the harbour at 6.30pm and was re-fuelled and ready for service by 7.45pm.





Barmouth ILB launch to swimmers on Easter Monday

The Barmouth RNLI lifeboat house was full of holidaymakers enjoying tea and cakes at the Grand Easter Tombola on Monday 17th April when the pagers alerted the volunteer crew at 1.56pm. UK Coastguard had received a report that three swimmers were in difficulties in the main channel between Fairbourne beach and the perch.

Visibility was clear with a moderate sea, an ebb tide and a south westerly force 3 to 4 wind. The Inshore Lifeboat (ILB) was launched immediately and as the volunteer crew arrived on the scene they found that the three persons were making their way to the shore. It appeared that one person had got into difficulties and that two others had gone to his aid, all three made it safely back to the beach.

Coxswain Peter Davies and the volunteer crew ensured that all were safe and well and not suffering from water inhalation. They also issued safety advice to the casualties about the danger of swimming in the main channel with a fast ebb tide flowing. The ILB returned to the station at 2.15 and was ready for service by 2.35 pm.

Meanwhile, the fundraising tombola continued and the grand sum of £847.89 was raised for the RNLI. Those supporters present were able to see first-hand how their donations actually help save lives at sea.


Barmouth RNLI All-weather Lifeboat called out to yacht in difficulties

Barmouth RNLI lifeboat volunteer crew were requested by UK coastguard to launch both the all-weather lifeboat (ALB), and the Inshore Lifeboat (ILB) at 10.59 am yesterday, 3rd April 2017. It was first reported that a 30ft yacht was in difficulties near the north of Porthmadog Estuary. Coastguards from Criccieth and Harlech were on the scene, but were unable to refloat the vessel and Criccieth RNLI ILB was launched. UK Coastguard then requested both Barmouth lifeboats to launch to a vessel further south off Mochras. The ALB and the ILB launched but when the ILB arrived at the location, there was nothing to be found and it soon became apparent that the call was to the same boat so both lifeboats returned to station. As the All-weather lifeboat was being recovered, another request to launch was received from UK Coastguard. The ALB was relaunched at 12.15 and on arrival at the scene, there was very little water and heavy surf breaking around the yacht. After it was established that the yacht’s occupant was safely ashore and that there was no one else on board, Barmouth RNLI ALB returned to station.


Barmouth ILB launch to small cabin cruiser

In response to a request from UK Coastguard, Barmouth ILB was launched on Friday 31 March to the aid of a small cabin cruiser reported to be drifting unattended in the main channel. Visibility was clear with a moderate sea and southerly force 3 wind blowing. From the UK Coastguard report, it was not clear if anyone was aboard the boat. The RNLI volunteer crew were paged at 3.03pm, they launched the ILB at 3.07 and were on the scene at 3.13pm. It was quickly established that there was no-one on board the vessel and after a thorough search of the area a line was attached to the boat and it was towed to a mooring near Penrhyn Point. The owners of the boat were on the shore and informed the volunteer crew that the boat must have slipped its moorings. The ILB returned to the station at 3.50 and was ready for service by 4.00pm

Barmouth RNLI volunteers brave the Icy seas.

The sudden drop in temperature on January 1st was 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.  Hundreds gathered at the boathouse on Barmouth promenade to watch friends and visitors from far and wide take the plunge to raise money for the RNLI.

At 11 am, on the instructions of Coxswain Peter Davies, young and old raced down the beach and threw themselves into the icy waters, some in fancy dress, and some in very little at all!  They all brought a welcome splash of colour and fun to the first day of January 2017 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.

A raffle was held by Et Cetera, the gift and homeware shop of Barmouth, who very generously offered the centre piece of their award winning Christmas window display.  The raffle for the beautiful rocking horse raised over £350.
Coxswain Peter Davies said: ‘All our RNLI volunteers and fundraisers are extremely grateful to locals and visitors who supported the dip.  Not only for their bravery today, but for their continuing generosity to Barmouth RNLI, and we would like to thank everyone for their support to the charity that saves lives at sea. We have raised over £1,000 today and there is still more sponsorship money to be collected. The proceeds will be put towards the Craig Steadman appeal to raise funds for the next D class Inshore lifeboat for Barmouth.’ 

Christmas Quiz success for Barmouth RNLI

On Wednesday 28 December, the popular quayside pub, the Last Inn, hosted a Christmas quiz in aid the RNLI. Some of the finest minds from the Barmouth lifeboat crew got together and entered a team, appropriately calling themselves ‘The Self-Righters’ and were surprised and delighted to be the overall winners . The prize was a bottle of Prosecco which will the team (very unselfishly) handed over to the fundraising team to use for further fundraising activities in 2017. The total raised during the evening was £137.37 which included a donation of £50 from Last Inn staff member Harry Potter. We are told this is a donation from his ‘Vain Jar’! Second Coxswain Rob Williams said: ‘We are very grateful to Greg and Debra Courtney of the Last Inn for their generosity, it was a great night. The proceeds from the event will be donated to the Craig Steadman appeal to raise funds for our new Inshore Lifeboat for Barmouth expected in July 2017’.

Pictured L to R: Crew Members Alex Hill, Jon Rollins and Russ Courtney, with Debra Courtney of the Last Inn and Second Coxswain Rob Williams.


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 Chris Cousens, RNLI Press Officer, Wales and West, on 07748 265496 or 01745 585162 or by email on Chris_Cousens@rnli.org.uk. 

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