On Sunday 13th March 2011, Ferryside lifeboat received a call from HM Coastguard Swansea to aid a jet-skier who had run aground opposite the Carmarthen Bay holiday park. The Ferryside lifeboat was immediately launched, crewed by Anthony Rees (Coxswain), Peter Bailey (Navigation) and James Littlejohns (Communications). This turned out to be an interesting call-out due to the nature of the falling tide, the position of the jet-ski and the involvement of a Sea King helicopter (Rescue 169). On arrival at the scene the coxswain knew at once that getting the lifeboat in close to the jet-skier would be problematic – again the tide was quickly receding and the lifeboat was rapidly losing draft. We were aware that recovering the skier was not a problem but would have to wait until the next tide to recover the large jet-ski itself.
Rescue 169 was in the vicinity and in communication with us. The winch man of the Sea King was unable to move the jet-ski so we were asked to lend a strong arm to assist. The helicopter took off and landed on the shore of Carmarthen Bay holiday park where Pete Bailey and James Littlejohns went ashore, clambered onto the Sea King and flew back to the sand bank. After much puffing, panting and pushing with the aid of two rescue 169 crew, we got the very large jet-ski back in the water and safely back to the holiday park. A red faced Peter and James then clambered back into rescue 169 and were taken back to the shoreline to re-join Anthony on the lifeboat.
The tide still dropping rapidly meant that we only had a short time to leave the Gwendraith river to get back to base. Had it been 15 minutes longer then we would have been unable to clear the outer sandbank and would have needed the rugby results passed to us by HM Coastguard as we would have been waiting for the next tide. Thankfully we made it home – just!
The original article was published in Stish Magazine – A monthly non-profit magazine for the St. Ishmael’s community.