Every summer, thousands of visitors descend on Sidmouth to enjoy their holiday breaks by the sparkling waters of Lyme Bay. Many will sun themselves on the town’s extensive esplanade and beachfront, before taking a cooling dip in the inviting sea or heading out on one of the many leisure craft running trips. Making sure that these pleasure seekers come to no harm, the volunteer-run Sidmouth Lifeboat crew stand sentinel 24-hours a day, 365 days a year.
Covering a marine area of approximately 150 square miles between Axmouth to the east and Budleigh Salterton to the west, the Sidmouth Lifeboat is an entirely independent charitable organisation.
Though the team liaises closely with the RNLI when dealing with callouts, the charity is completely self-funded,
relying on the generosity of the local community and appreciative visitors.
Crewed by a team of four highly-trained volunteers, the 7.66 metre-long Arctic 24 can reach speeds of up to 45 knots, enabling the team to respond quickly to individuals and craft in distress. Should the crew receive a call for assistance, the support team will rapidly deliver the boat to Clifton beach via trailer, enabling a swift launch straight into the water. In 2014, the Sidmouth Lifeboat responded to over 15 callouts from the Portland Coastguard, including beach walkers trapped by the tide, kayakers endangered by deteriorating conditions and a 25ft yacht that ran aground just east of Axmouth.
Both the boat crew and their supporting team are proactive in raising money for the funding of the service. In 2013 they completed Sidmouth Lifeboat On Bikes (SLOBS), cycling the entire UK coastline and visiting every independent lifeboat station en-route. Taking the team of six 16 days to complete, SLOBS raised an incredible £17,300, which went towards the purchase of a replacement back-up vessel for the service.
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