Holyhead lifeboat launched in gale force winds and crashing waves... to rescue cyclists

RNLI gies to aid of cyclists who had pedalled to end of UK's longest breakwater, but they turn down help

by Simon_MacMichael   February 5, 2013  

Holyhead Inshore Lifeboat (picture credit RNLI)

We’re pretty sure we’ve ever heard of a lifeboat being deployed to rescue cyclists before, but that’s what happened in North Wales on Monday evening when two men aged in their 20s decided to pedal to the end of the 1.7-mile Holyhead breakwater, the longest such structure in the United Kingdom.

Amid gale force winds coming in from the Irish Sea and with waves crashing against the top of the 63-foot tall lighthouse that stands at the end of the breakwater, the RNLI’s inshore lifeboat at Holyhead, staffed by volunteers, was launched to go to the cyclists’ aid.

With the Coastguard, ambulance crews and parmedics on hand, an RNLI crewman braved the conditions to clamber up onto the breakwater and asked the men to return to land in the lifeboat, but they decided to ride back instead.

Once they reached the shore, the pair were taken by Coastguards by road to Holyhead lifeboat station, where they were handed over to ambulance crews, says the RNLI.

The men were reportedly given safety advice.

Holyhead, often assumed to be on Anglesey, is actually on the smaller Holy Island, connected by bridge to its much larger neighbour.

27 user comments

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Stupidity!

posted by onlyonediane [159 posts]
5th February 2013 - 16:59

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I'm guessing the "safety advice" was pretty blunt and to the point.

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posted by Simon_MacMichael [7900 posts]
5th February 2013 - 17:04

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Whilst clearly daft, looking at Google it is a pretty substantial structure that would provide a good deal of shelter.

Wouldn't catch me on it in high winds, mind.

posted by Darkerside [58 posts]
5th February 2013 - 17:29

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My Gran lives there and I've cycled along that breakwater, wouldn't be fun in high winds but they survived so not so bad it seems. It's a windy place, I often do a lap of Anglesey when I visit and it usually seems to me that I'm riding into the wind all the way around!

posted by mudshark [19 posts]
5th February 2013 - 17:42

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"Holyhead, often assumed to be on Anglesey, is actually on the smaller Holy Island, connected by bridge to its much larger neighbour."

Unnecessary pedantry? It's administered by Anglesey Council and postal addresses will show Anglesey (or Ynys Môn).

And while we're being pedantic *cough*, Holy Island is connected both by a small bridge at Four Mile Bridge and two parallel causeways from near Valley, one carrying the A55 and the other the A5 road and the railway line.

Those fools who went out onto the breakwater should be forced to raise money for the RNLI, perhaps by riding into a gale force cross-headwind for 50 miles or more while being subjected frequent dousing by near-freezing sea spray.

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posted by Simon E [1906 posts]
5th February 2013 - 18:10

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Yep, the Causeway is named after the Stanleys who used to own Penrhos, the land where the smelter is and the surrounding farm land/coastal park. My Grandfather bought the land from the Stanleys and sold it to RTZ. Now RTZ want to sell the land to be developed into a Centre Parks style holiday area, many locals are not happy.

http://www.decideforyourself.co.uk/LandLakes.php

posted by mudshark [19 posts]
5th February 2013 - 18:18

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So, they went to the end of the breakwater, were in no difficulty, and got themselves back to safety without issue.

Did it really need that much reaction?

posted by localsurfer [160 posts]
5th February 2013 - 18:32

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They probably didnt offer to save their bikes, so it was a tricky choice.

posted by lolol [114 posts]
5th February 2013 - 18:33

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They should be made to pay for wasting the time of these volunteers. Oh Darwin award entries where are you when needed.

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posted by cidermart [456 posts]
5th February 2013 - 18:40

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Big waves and flooded fords have a magnetic effect on morons.

I'm a human being, God damn it! My life has value. I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore.

posted by Carl [134 posts]
5th February 2013 - 18:52

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localsurfer wrote:
So, they went to the end of the breakwater, were in no difficulty, and got themselves back to safety without issue.

Did it really need that much reaction?

Given your name, I'm guessing you're a fan of big waves... Wink

But conditions were such that RNLI believed it was justified in deploying the lifeboat, and the Coastguard was also on hand.

Question is, how would this be reported had they decided not to respond and one or other of the men been swept away?

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posted by Simon_MacMichael [7900 posts]
5th February 2013 - 19:09

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Simon_MacMichael wrote:
localsurfer wrote:
So, they went to the end of the breakwater, were in no difficulty, and got themselves back to safety without issue.

Did it really need that much reaction?

Given your name, I'm guessing you're a fan of big waves... Wink

But conditions were such that RNLI believed it was justified in deploying the lifeboat, and the Coastguard was also on hand.

Question is, how would this be reported had they decided not to respond and one or other of the men been swept away?

Well, yes, that's always a problem. (I work with RNLI beach lifeguards, and you can always be wrong if you don't react) But, they should have used it as a training exercise rather than implying some people who were in no difficulty were somehow in the wrong.

posted by localsurfer [160 posts]
5th February 2013 - 19:23

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cidermart wrote:
They should be made to pay for wasting the time of these volunteers.

So, that would be a refund of £0 then? Seriously, I have never understood why jobs as vital as coastguard or fireman are so often unpaid volunteers. Yet completely useless professions like estate agents, politicians, and insurance company staff, to name but three, are among the highest paid of all jobs.

Quote:
Two men aged in their 20s

Are you sure they weren't couriers? It certainly sounds like the sort of thing a courier would do.

posted by ubercurmudgeon [168 posts]
5th February 2013 - 19:32

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ubercurmudgeon wrote:
cidermart wrote:
They should be made to pay for wasting the time of these volunteers.

So, that would be a refund of £0 then? Seriously, I have never understood why jobs as vital as coastguard or fireman are so often unpaid volunteers. Yet completely useless professions like estate agents, politicians, and insurance company staff, to name but three, are among the highest paid of all jobs.

The RNLI would rather stay independent of government control. Weirdly, full time beach lifeguards get paid, while the lifeboat crews don't, (except the cox and engineer) as they react to callouts.

posted by localsurfer [160 posts]
5th February 2013 - 19:52

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Fair one 'ubercurmudgeon' but not what I meant ha ha the jobs some of them have to leave when the call goes out.

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posted by cidermart [456 posts]
5th February 2013 - 20:51

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"Handed over to ambulance services"

Why?

posted by meehaja [27 posts]
5th February 2013 - 21:14

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Interesting history mudshark, thanks for that. I'd like to think a holiday park would be good for the island, but I suspect it won't be that simple.

ubercurmudgeon wrote:
Seriously, I have never understood why jobs as vital as coastguard or fireman are so often unpaid volunteers. Yet completely useless professions like estate agents, politicians, and insurance company staff, to name but three, are among the highest paid of all jobs.

It's Capitalism, a system where rich, greedy, selfish people are disproportionately rewarded and pampered, insulated from the rest. Some of the least competent somehow end up in charge of it all and get to (mis-)manage the whole country's finances.

If the RNLI was funded by government it would have been run down then sold for peanuts to some offshore private equity outfit years ago. Slick PR would gloss over the problems (cuts costing lives etc, where the money really goes) while executive remuneration, avoiding tax and profit would be the real goals.

While some politicians aren't entirely useless, the alternative is to be ruled by the monarchy. Now there's a real bunch of superfluous individuals IMHO who haven't exactly done a great job down the years.

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posted by Simon E [1906 posts]
5th February 2013 - 22:14

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lolol wrote:
They probably didnt offer to save their bikes, so it was a tricky choice.

Glad I wasn't the only one thinking this Smile

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posted by mingmong [188 posts]
6th February 2013 - 9:41

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'Unnecessary pedantry?'

not really, just fact.

posted by andyp [796 posts]
6th February 2013 - 10:00

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andyp wrote:
'Unnecessary pedantry?'

not really, just fact.

Is it pertinent? IMHO no, it was superfluous - it didn't help or clarify anything in the article.

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posted by Simon E [1906 posts]
6th February 2013 - 10:24

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It clarified the fact that Holyhead isn't on Anglesey, but is in fact on a separate island.

posted by farrell [1289 posts]
6th February 2013 - 10:33

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Of course if these two had been reported as in some form of danger but a 3rd party it is possible that the lifeboat had to turn out.
I like it, its a change from all the mountain rescue and life boat call outs where the "victim" could have made it out themselves with a bit of gumption.
If the riders had called the life boat out it would be rather different and at very least a public suggestion of a donation would be a good diea.
Equally if the riders chose to ride there, were happy to cycle back and didn't want a rescue then the good talking to was out of order. They got it right didn't they.

posted by mattsccm [245 posts]
6th February 2013 - 11:09

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Quote:
the pair were taken by Coastguards by road to Holyhead lifeboat station, where they were handed over to ambulance crews

This manages to make it sound as if they were arrested by the coastguard. Is that correct?

I'm pretty sure coastguard officers do have powers of arrest, but I'm slightly staggered that they might have arrested someone for being the cause of a purely precautionary lifeboat call-out.

posted by BigDummy [274 posts]
6th February 2013 - 11:10

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Simon E wrote:
andyp wrote:
'Unnecessary pedantry?'

not really, just fact.

Is it pertinent? IMHO no, it was superfluous - it didn't help or clarify anything in the article.


"Unnecessary pedantry"? What kind of pedantry is ever necessary?

posted by ubercurmudgeon [168 posts]
6th February 2013 - 12:08

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Simon E wrote:
While some politicians aren't entirely useless, the alternative is to be ruled by the monarchy.

Those aren't the only two choices.

posted by ubercurmudgeon [168 posts]
6th February 2013 - 12:11

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The RNLI launch to go to the aid of some who doesn't need it and then spin the message which contributes to launch statisics. Not the first time, though they are a worthy and very wealthy charity. Still very stupid to be on an exposed pier. To be a charity the size of the RNLI requires a lot of media exposure! Yes, I'm a cynic

posted by diggersailing [14 posts]
6th February 2013 - 15:30

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diggersailing wrote:
The RNLI launch to go to the aid of some who doesn't need it and then spin the message which contributes to launch statisics. Not the first time, though they are a worthy and very wealthy charity. Still very stupid to be on an exposed pier. To be a charity the size of the RNLI requires a lot of media exposure! Yes, I'm a cynic

[[[[ Yes, the boat-crew were probably bored witless with nothing to do, and saw this as an opportunity to get out on the water....and having done so, they had to justify their actions by getting all puffed-up and angry with the pesky lycra-lout red-light-jumping cyclists who think they can just ride anywhere they want, without even signalling or paying their rogue-tax or nuffink and stuff like that,yeah? And then they're released without being charged!!! Disgusting.
How do I know all this? I don't. I wasn't there.
P.R.

PhilRuss

posted by PhilRuss [268 posts]
7th February 2013 - 17:23

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