Busy year for coast patrol

Volunteer rescuers who patrol Felixstowe's coastline had nearly a 50 per cent increase in their workload this year after a busy summer on the resort's seafront.

FELIXSTOWE: Volunteer rescuers who patrol Felixstowe's coastline had nearly a 50 per cent increase in their workload this year after a busy summer on the resort's seafront.

Crews from Felixstowe Volunteer Coast Patrol Rescue Service helped 135 people caught up in accidents and incidents on the waves in 2009 compared with 93 in 2008.

In total the service patrolled for 60 days at weekends, with its craft Volunteer covering 3,450 miles. Twelve times it was tasked by Thames Coastguard to attend incidents.

Service chairman John Cresswell said it had been an exceptionally busy year - both on and off the water, with the team dealing with incidents including vandalism to lifebelts, vessels, beach huts and navigation marks, and washed up sea mammals.

“Other incidents at the resort ranged from people being swept out to sea on inflatable toys, recovering abandoned inflatables, helping windsurfers, kayaks and jet-skis in trouble and groups of people walking or even picnicking on the Deben Bar offshore shoals,” said Mr Cresswell.

Saddest incident of the year had been dealing with the death of yachtsman Melvyn Shaw, found in the water, having fallen from his boat near the Orwell Bridge after suffering a heart attack.

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The coast patrol crew were first on the scene and gave him CPR and oxygen therapy until emergency services could take over.

It had been a good year for fundraising and the service was halfway towards the �16,000 needed to replace Volunteer's engines.

What do you think of the work of the patrol service? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk