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Saved by the RNLI in Arbroath, Scotland

We’d been in the water for about 4 hours, and hypothermia was starting to set in
sara test

Saved by the RNLI in Newquay, England

I panicked as I jumped, and I landed on my back in the water

Saved by an RNLI Lifeguard at Blackpool Sands, England

The day I nearly died there were no waves, no wind

Saved by the RNLI in Porthcawl, Wales

Suddenly I felt nothing beneath me, and I just dropped over the edge

Saved by the RNLI at Dungeness, England

I owe my life to Garry Clark and his team. So do my six crew mates
Test han Monday morning

Saved by the RNLI in Exmouth, England

Another 20 minutes and we'd have been dead

Saves lives for the RNLI in Portrush, Northern Ireland

I couldn't wait until I was old enough to join the RNLI

Saves lives for the RNLI in Anstruther, Scotland

If they had dived in I don't think they'd have made it

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Han testing

Saved by the RNLI in Arbroath, Scotland

We’d been in the water for about 4 hours, and hypothermia was starting to set in

Ben Thomson

The currents started sweeping us towards the big swell

We were out riding our watercraft in the Tay Estuary when mine packed up. Then my mate Gavin’s engine over-heated too. We were stranded.

With no power, the currents started sweeping us towards the big swell. Every time we were hit by a wave, we were taken under water in what’s known locally as the Washing Machine. It was spinning us upside down and our watercraft began sinking. That’s when we made the decision to try to swim to shore.

It was getting dark. There was just me and Gavin, two heads in the water – we thought there was no chance we were going to be found. By that time, we’d been in the water nearly 4 hours and hypothermia was setting in. We tried to keep our spirits up by thinking about our kids. I’ve been friends with Gavin so long that our children play together. One time, they’d made up this little rhyme over a bag of sweets: ’Love you lots like jelly tots.’ So that’s what we kept saying whenever we got close to giving up. 

As we were talking, Gavin said to me: ‘I can see a light’. So I said to him: ‘Get that whistle and blow as hard as you can.’ But he didn’t have the strength.  So I took the whistle and blew as hard as I could. Out of the darkness, I heard someone on a loudhailer shouting: ‘Boys, we can hear you, but we can’t see you. You have to keep whistling.’ At long last, the lifeboat found us. It was out of this world. 

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Saved by the RNLI in Newquay, England

I panicked as I jumped, and I landed on my back in the water

Liam Watters

I didn't know what was happening, I just had to trust the lifeboat crew while we waited for the helicopter

I was out coasteering with the Scouts in Cornwall, climbing up on to the rocks and jumping into the water. But when it came to my turn, I sort of panicked half way through, and I landed on my back.

The others jumped into the water, and asked me if I was OK. I just said: ’It hurts.’ Some of them were trying to keep me on my back, some of them were calling for help on their radios. 

Soon the lifeboat crew turned up, and they got me onboard. I didn’t really know what was happening, because they told me to stay looking up all the time. I just had to trust them.

The crew kept talking to me. They were telling me what was happening, saying that a helicopter was on its way. I heard it coming from miles away, and it got louder and louder. Then suddenly it was right over the top of the boat.

They told me they were going to winch me up into the helicopter. One of the paramedics came up on the harness with me. When we got into the helicopter he checked me out, and luckily I was fine.

Will you tick a box and join the RNLI’s community of supporters? Allowing us to stay in touch will help us continue our lifesaving work. Thank you.

Saved by an RNLI Lifeguard at Blackpool Sands, England

The day I nearly died there were no waves, no wind

James Kelsall

I was just swimming underwater and I blacked out

I consider myself pretty confident in the water, so I’d never really thought I might need help. The sea was completely flat that day, nothing scary about it. No wind. No waves.

I was swimming underwater when I blacked out. I don’t know why. I just swam down to get some sand from the bottom and lost consciousness. If it hadn’t been for Jack Ellis, the RNLI lifeguard nearby, I could have died. Jack realised I was in a bad way, so he dragged me out of the water and on to his rescue board.

It makes you realise how important it is to have the lifeguards around. We’re an island nation and our waters are cold, dangerous and unpredictable. Without the RNLI the number of people getting into trouble would be far more. 

Will you tick a box and join the RNLI’s community of supporters? Allowing us to stay in touch will help us continue our lifesaving work. Thank you.

Saved by the RNLI in Porthcawl, Wales

Suddenly I felt nothing beneath me, and I just dropped over the edge

Mike Dooley

It was terrifying and I was starting to wonder if I could survive this

I remember noticing the rough sea conditions on that day, but I felt it was still safe to go fishing because there were so many other anglers close by on Porthcawl’s harbour wall. But just 20 minutes in I was hit by an enormous wave. I saw it coming, but before I had time to react I was knocked flat.

I put my hands out as I was being dragged across the concrete of the pier. Then suddenly I felt nothing beneath me, and I just dropped over the edge.

The other fishermen raised the alarm, and one of them even threw his tackle box into the water for me to hang onto. But conditions were so rough I couldn’t get to it. I’d only been in the water a few minutes but already the pier looked small and a long way away.

It was terrifying, and I was starting to wonder if I could survive. I was trying not to take in water but I could feel it in my lungs. Fortunately the RNLI launched their lifeboat and came out to rescue me. When they found me I was quarter of a mile out to sea. I was really cold when they dragged me out of the water, and I don’t think I could have stayed afloat much longer.

They had an ambulance waiting when we got back to shore, ready to take me to hospital. I will be eternally grateful to these guys, they do an amazing job.

Will you tick a box and join the RNLI’s community of supporters? Allowing us to stay in touch will help us continue our lifesaving work. Thank you.

Saved by the RNLI at Dungeness, England

I owe my life to Garry Clark and his team. So do my six crew mates

Veronica Bower-Feek

There was no doubt in my mind that we were going to capsize

We set off to sail from Southampton to London in perfectly reasonable conditions. But the weather soon turned, and by the time we were off the Kent coast the wind was up to violent storm force 11. We’re pretty experienced sailors, but many of us had such severe seasickness we could hardly sail the boat.

By midnight the conditions were horrific. We’d lost power, we’d lost our steering, and the boat was broaching wildly. We put out a distress call to the Coastguard and they asked the RNLI to launch the Dungeness lifeboat.

Garry and the crew soon arrived on the scene, but no matter how hard they tried they couldn’t get close enough to secure a tow rope. I was starting to lose hope … and then suddenly Garry appeared in the cabin. He’d taken a split-second opportunity to jump on to our boat, putting his own life at risk to help us. I can honestly say that was the first point where I thought we might survive – from midnight until that point, I was pretty sure we were going to drown.

Half an hour later I was being winched to safety, up into an RAF helicopter. If it wasn’t for Garry and his team, I wouldn’t be here today.

Will you tick a box and join the RNLI’s community of supporters? Allowing us to stay in touch will help us continue our lifesaving work. Thank you.

Saved by the RNLI in Exmouth, England

Another 20 minutes and we'd have been dead

Jared Colclough

The water was freezing and all I kept thinking was: 'How will they find us?'

I’d just replaced the engine on my speedboat, and I invited my 13-year-old cousin Daniel and a couple of friends to take it out for a trial run. The engine was working fine for an hour or so, but then the fuel pump packed up and I couldn’t get the engine firing again.

That’s when I discovered we were taking on water. It was just continuous, wave after wave was coming in. Without power we were helpless, and pretty soon we were sinking.

I was the first one in the water, and the others weren’t far behind. We’d only called the Coastguard for a tow but now it was turning into a real mayday situation.

The water was freezing and all I kept thinking was: ‘How will they find us, with only 2 feet of boat sticking out of the water?’ Moments later, I spotted the RNLI on the horizon and it was instant relief. They got to us just in time – another 20 minutes and we’d have been dead.

Will you tick a box and join the RNLI’s community of supporters? Allowing us to stay in touch will help us continue our lifesaving work. Thank you.

Saves lives for the RNLI in Portrush, Northern Ireland

I couldn't wait until I was old enough to join the RNLI

Kelly Allen

I was officially crew on my 17th birthday

I grew up around the harbour, and quickly became passionate about the lifeboats and crew. I was counting down the days to be old enough to join. Now as well as being crew for Portrush RNLI, I’m on the Flood Rescue Team and regularly visit schools to teach kids about the dangers of the sea.

We go into local primary schools with our crew gear, including the lifejacket and helmet, to talk to the kids about staying safe on the water. Many of the crew have kids themselves, so they are passionate about teaching them to understand the risks, and to know what to do if they get into trouble. 

We teach the kids things like the importance of staying with the boat if you find yourself drifting out to sea. Then one day, when I went on a rescue, I heard two girls stranded in a dinghy shouting my name. As we came alongside I remembered they’d been in one of my talks – and they’d remembered what I said about never leaving the boat.

It was really rewarding to know that they’d listened, and my advice potentially saved their lives. It shows how important the RNLI’s education programmes are.

Will you tick a box and join the RNLI’s community of supporters? Allowing us to stay in touch will help us continue our lifesaving work. Thank you.

Saves lives for the RNLI in Anstruther, Scotland

If they had dived in I don't think they'd have made it

Barry Gourlay

We heard the waves but we couldn't see them, because the night was black

It was about 1am when my crew pager went off. I jumped out of bed and rushed down to the lifeboat station. I didn’t even have time to take my pyjamas off. We launched the inshore lifeboat to go out to a motorboat called the Princess. She was grounded on some rocks, and starting to break up with two guys onboard, Paul and Sean.

It was rough and windy and we couldn’t hear each other, the only thing I remember shouting to my crew was: ’Hold on, we’re going in!’ Communication was really important that night as the weather was horrendous and the three of us had to work together just to keep the boat upright. 

As we got nearer to Sean and Paul the swell grew even bigger. We could hear the waves but we couldn’t see them, because the night was just black. No moon, stars or anything. Right along the coast there are hundreds of lobster pots in the water. My crew mates Becci and Euan usually warn me when they’re coming up, but they couldn’t see a thing and we ended up getting caught on one. Fortunately I managed to untangle the line from round the propeller pretty quickly, while Becci and Euan stabilised the boat.

When we got to the Princess, Paul and Sean were ready to abandon ship. If they had dived in I don’t think they would have made it. There are just too many rocks round there. So I told the crew to hold on, picked a wave, and went in as close as I could to their boat. 

We were expecting our engine to hit the rocks at any moment, but we managed to drag Paul and Sean safely on to the lifeboat. They were cold and shivering, so we transferred them onto the larger lifeboat, which was waiting offshore. Even that was a bit hairy. 

Coming back you have time to think what could have gone wrong. If our propeller had clipped a rock, or we’d caught a wave wrong, we could have been overboard. But luckily we were alright.

Will you tick a box and join the RNLI’s community of supporters? Allowing us to stay in touch will help us continue our lifesaving work. Thank you.