RNLI Lifeboat Crew Recovers Body of Man-Overboard Victim

Image courtesy RNLI Ramsgate

Published Feb 19, 2020 1:59 PM by The Maritime Executive

Last weekend, a volunteer lifeboat crew with the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) recovered the body of a man-overboard victim prior to the arrival of Storm Dennis.

At about 0600 hours on Saturday, the Margate and Ramsgate RNLI lifeboat crews received a request for assistance from the UK's HM Coastguard. The coast guard had received an alert from a merchant vessel anchored off Margate at about 0540: a crewmember had failed to show up for his shift and could not be located on board, raising concerns that he may have gone over the side. According to local media, the ship is believed to be the LPG carrier B Gas Margrethe. 

The two lifeboats launched to the scene, and with the assistance of an HM Coastguard helicopter and the Royal Navy vessel HMS Westminster, they conducted a search in rough seas to locate the missing crewmember. After about seven hours, a body was recovered from the sea by the Margate all-weather lifeboat. The lifeboat returned to station and transferred the remains to the care of local police officers. 

HM Coastguard confirmed the outcome in a statement Wednesday. 

In a separate, unrelated incident Saturday, the body of a teenage man washed up on shore in Herne Bay, Kent. He was believed to have been playing in the high surf when he got into trouble. Paramedics were unable to revive him. 

Heavy weather

Two back-to-back winter storm systems - named Storm Ciara and Storm Dennis by the UK Met Office - brought high winds and heavy rain to the British Isles over the course of the past week. Flooding from Ciara affected hundreds of homes, and power line damage left about 500,000 temporarily without power. 

Storm Dennis dropped about five inches of rain over South Wales in one day on Sunday, and its heavy rainfall led the UK Environment Agency to issue the largest number of single-day flood warnings on record. Wind gusts to 90 mph were recorded in North Wales. During its approach, satellite measurements indicated a significant wave height exceeding 60 feet in the North Atlantic west of Ireland, with the largest individual waves exceeding 110 feet. 

The Hastings RNLI lifeboat suffered a knockdown in heavy surf during Storm Ciara, but it quickly self-righted, prompting questions from the public about how these hardy vessels come back up after heeling over beyond the recoverable limits for a typical workboat. Volunteer Ed Davies, a senior naval architect for the RNLI, explained the design specifications for the lifeboats in a Facebook post last week. 

RNLI How the Shannon class lifeboat self-rights from a capsize or knockdown

Were you wondering how the Shannon class from RNLI Hastings Lifeboat Station managed to recover so quickly from the knockdown we all saw in Storm Ciara? We caught up with Senior Naval Architect, Ed Davies, on the science behind this lifesaving feature.

Posted by RNLI on Friday, February 14, 2020