Weston-super-Mare RNLI Volunteers rescue three boys cut off on the notorious Birnbeck Island

Friday, 16 March 2018

Once again the rapid rise of tide in the Bristol Channel takes people by surprise.

The derelict and deserted Birnbeck Island sticks out into the Bristol Channel at the north of Weston Bay. Once a world beating entertainment hub and also the home for Weston RNLI lifeboat for many years it has now sunk into disrepair. The pier connecting it to the mainland is so dangerous even lifeboat crews are not allowed to use it.

However there is a shingle bank, exposed at every low tide, which connects the island  to the mainland. This shingle bank is a magnet for many who think it would be fun to walk over it to the island. But the tide comes in with ferocity in this area and very soon the shingle bank is covered and victims are cut off.

It is not unusual for the local Weston RNLI crew to have to go to their old home to rescue people who have been cut off there.

This happened today at 2 pm when three boys were seen on the Island. The lifeboat crew was paged and launched their smaller lifeboat within 10 minutes. It was 2 hrs after low water so the tide was rising quickly. They soon spotted the boys who were taken into the lifeboat and fitted with lifejackets. They were then transported to the lifeboat station at Knightstone where they received some strong safety advice from the Coastguard..

Liam McDermott, Weston RNLI Helmsman said;’ These lads were local and should have known better. The tides round here come up more quickly than one can run. We are often having to rescue those who are caught out. By all means enjoy the sea but always be aware of what the tide is doing. If you think you are in trouble ring 999 for the Coastguard.’

The picture show the Cassie at low water