Lytham St Annes RNLI Lifeboat Volunteers called out as beach “fills” with people as the Covid lock down eases
Lytham St Annes Inshore Lifeboat and a Lytham Coastguard Team join forces to warn people of the dangers of the incoming tide
The Coastguard requested the Lytham St Annes Inshore lifeboat (ILB) launch at 4.03pm to three incidents at St Annes beach as large numbers of people visited on a fine sunny day after weeks of lock down. Initially the request was to search for a missing three year old boy with the added possibility of other people being cut off by the rising tide. The ILB was launched with three volunteer crew on board, all having to be fully kitted out and prepared with Covid-19 protection (PPE) in case any member of the public was infected.
The lifeboat headed down river from her Lytham boathouse heading for St Annes beach with Helmsman Ben McGarry in command but partway there the child was found safe and well by shore searchers. The Coastguard Marine Rescue Sub Centre (MRSC) at Holyhead then tasked the ILB to go to the help of a person on an inflatable in possible danger. The ILB arrived on scene just as the person managed to make their way back to shore unaided.
With large numbers of people at the waters edge up to a mile off shore as the tide flooded in, the Coastguard then requested the ILB warn people of the dangers of being cut off by the rapidly rising tide. Over thirty people were given advice and warnings by crew members Will Bridge and Jason Banks before the lifeboat returned to her boathouse at 17.22 to be refuelled, washed off and the crew PPE decontaminated in case contact had been made.
Meanwhile with the Lytham Coastguard vehicle out at the waters edge warning people in one area, the Lifeboat Station’s Massey tractor and Shore Crew trailer were despatched from the South Promenade boathouse to warn others who were being surrounded by water as the North Run began to fill in behind them with the flooding tide. Despite the hot weather volunteer crew members Vinny Pedley and Chris Penrice had to don full anti-Covid infection Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) before setting out in case of contact with a virus carrier. The tractor brought eight people back across the North Run to the safety of the landward side before giving warnings to around thirty others who, being at the shallow end of the Run, could safely wade ashore in about 0.5m of water. The tractor returned to the boathouse at 16.45 to be cleaned and checked and the crew gear (PPE) decontaminated in case any contact had been made.
Helmsman Ben McGarry later said, “There were a lot of people enjoying themselves in the sun but totally unaware that the tide was surrounding them from behind”.