RNLI rescues sailor with heatstroke needing ‘urgent medical attention’ whose boat broke down off Exmouth

A barely-conscious sailor suffering from heatstroke and dehydration on board a broken-down boat drifting off Exmouth was rescued by the RNLI.

The town’s inshore lifeboat was launched an its crew and found the casualty, whose vessel had engine failure, needed ‘very urgent medical attention’.

The incident happened in scorching conditions at around 4.25pm on Saturday, July 17.

An Exmouth RNLI spokesperson said it was alerted to a report of a lone individual in distress on board a RIB [rigid inflatable boat]with at Littleham Cove.

“The occupant of the boat had made several unsuccessful attempts to restart his engine for some time,” they added.

“The RNLI inshore lifeboat launched at 4.40pm, crewed by Helm, Roy Stott and volunteer crew Ed Steele and Geoff Mills and quickly made their way to the last known position of the vessel.

“At 4.50pm, the crew located the RIB and determined that the individual was suffering from heatstroke, dehydration and drifting in and out of consciousness due to the unusually hot weather conditions.

“It became clear the individual required very urgent medical attention.

“The crew took the casualty on board the lifeboat and to safety at Steamer Steps, Budleigh Salterton, having requested the assistance of an ambulance and an HM Coastguard unit.

“Exmouth RNLI medical advisor Dr Jane Aitken was close to the incident and was able to give immediate first-aid to the casualty pending arrival of the other agencies.

“Exmouth RNLI crew member Charles Swale was also near to the incident on the water and undertook the recovery of the rib to Exmouth Marina.

“Having satisfied themselves that the casualty was receiving prompt and adequate medical care, the lifeboat returned to Exmouth RNLI Lifeboat Station where it was back on service at 6.28pm.

“The current condition of the casualty is not known.”

Exmouth RNLI helm Roy Stott added: “Anyone taking to the water in these unusually hot weather conditions should ensure that they take an adequate supply of water and a means of shade.

“The heat and sun can be just as damaging on the water as off. I was pleased that myself and my crew were able to convey the casualty to safety and prompt medical assistance as soon as we could.”

RNLI safety advice for motorboating can be found here.

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