A PLUMBER was saved by Whitby’s inshore lifeboat after attempts to rescue him with an inflatable dinghy failed.
Adam Brown was completing urgent maintenance under the Fish Quay last Thursday (3 February) when the tide turned, stranding him underneath.
Mr Brown, whose brother Nathan is a member of the coastguard team, told the Gazette: “We were doing a bit of maintenance but unfortunately we couldn’t get to it down the ladders.
“So we had to wait until low tide came down and walk along the bottom of the harbour.”
Strong onshore winds meant that the tide was higher than expected and, before the work was completed, it turned.
This left Mr Brown stranded, but within shouting distance of his colleague Joe Winspear, who had returned to the top of the pier to fetch some tools.
Together the two plumbers formulated a plan.
Mr Brown added: “We didn’t want to inconvenience the lifeboat so I said ‘why don’t we get a dinghy?’
“We were going to deflate it and push it through a four-inch hole in the floor in the toilet block.
I was going to re-inflate it and paddle out to safety. But then it came to light that there were no oars.”
With no means of paddling to safety the plan was abandoned, and with the tide rapidly rising the chances of Mr Brown escaping without getting wet became increasingly narrow.
Fortunately Whitby Lifeboat crew were on the opposite pier preparing the inshore lifeboat for its annual service.
Harbour staff alerted them to Mr Brown’s plight, and coxwain Mike Russell was at hand.
He said: “I think they were starting to panic and he was about to pack up and get his tools together and swim for it.
“Harbour staff could go down the ladder and see him but they could not get to him, so they asked for our help.”
The inshore boat made the short journey across the harbour and Mr Brown was rescued without any further complications.
With a happy ending assured, he was quick to see the funny side: “It was a bit of an adventure, but the job needed to be done and I was extremely dedicated to the needs of the council and the fish quay.”
Mike Russell is eager to let people know that the lifeboat service is available all day, every day, no matter how small the apparent danger.
He said: “The lifeboat is always here and people should get in touch with us before putting themselves in danger.
Some people feel embarrassed but it’s always better to be safe than sorry.”