The weekend started early for the St Helier inshore lifeboat which was tasked on Thursday morning to assist with a broken down French motor boat near the Dog’s Nest. The casualty vessel was already under tow and the ILB took the tow over and brought the boat back to St Helier.
On Sunday morning, the St Helier inshore lifeboat was again tasked to assist a broken down speedboat which was taking on water. The boat was reported as being near Beauport, but was actually found nearer Corbiere. The crew had put to sea without any safety equipment and knowing that the boat had a cracked transom, but were relying on the bilge pump to keep it afloat. However, when they suffered mechanical failure, the bilge pump also failed. They also had only a mobile phone to raise the alarm.
The St Catherine’s inshore lifeboat volunteer crew were paged twice on Sunday afternoon. The first was to investigate reports of a car over the cliff near Grosnez. Working with the Jersey Fire & Rescue Service, who were also called to the incident, the crews quickly established that this was an older vehicle that had been there for some time.
Later that evening, the St Catherine’s crew were again paged, this time for a report of two swimmers stranded on rocks near La Coupe Point. The lifeboat quickly located the swimmers who were getting very cold and one of whom had a medical condition which required medication. With a strong current running and wind against tide, it would have been very difficult for them to make it to shore but they did have a mobile phone which allowed for them to call for help. The lifeboat crew were able to bring both swimmers onto the lifeboat and they were transferred to shore where they were able to retrieve their medication and find warm clothing.
Nigel Sweeny, Lifeboat Operations Manager, stated:
“It is not unusual for there to be a flurry of activity on a fine weekend towards the end of summer. However, two of these incidents had the potential to become much more serious.
For the broken down speedboat which was taking on water, whilst conditions were calm, this incident could quickly have escalated. We would like to take this opportunity to remind all boat users to ensure that they have lifejackets and a means of calling for help other than just a mobile phone. Mobile phone reception around the Jersey coast, and particularly out to sea, can be tricky, so a VHF radio and distress flares should also be considered.
The two swimmers did also have a mobile phone and were somewhat lucky to have found a signal on the north coast. However, they did the right thing by in staying in place and calling for help, rather than trying to make it back to shore.“