It was supposed to be a day on which sea rescuers at stations along the North Sea and Baltic Sea coast brought more than 30,000 visitors closer to their work - but as so often in this season, thunderstorms over the water swirled the process around: the cruisers had to do around 40 times German Society for the Rescue of Shipwrecked People on Sunday to help water sports enthusiasts. In many places, incoming alarms interrupted the actions of the "Sea Rescue Day" such as ship inspections, sea rescue exercises or rescue demonstrations.
Crowds of visitors on the rescue cruiser "Nis Randers"
The focus was due to a continuous thunderstorm with heavy rain, hail and heavy squalls up to 10 Beaufort in the afternoon in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania between Fischland and Rügen with more than 30 missions within three and a half hours.
On the Saaler Bodden near Wustrow, a Zeesboat with 14 people on board got into distress, capsized and ran aground. Three people were rescued by the lifeboat, five more were rescued by a volunteer fire brigade's rubber dinghy, and the remaining six, including a child, picked up a motorboat. The Zeesboot, of which only the masts protruded from the water, could be towed into the port of Wustrow.
A few kilometers to the east, in the Barther Bodden, a single-handed sailor capsized with his dinghy cruiser. He fell into the water, but was able to climb back on board on his own. With the help of the sea rescue team, the Jolli could be raised again and towed ashore.
Storm squalls with rain and hail also hit the sailors off Hiddensee; Dinghy sailors capsized, two yachts ran flat and had to be towed free.
Demonstration in the port of Norderney
For the 19th time, the DGzRS gave the public an insight into its work on this day - but it has never been as active as last weekend since the first event in 1999. Crews of around 60 rescue cruisers and boats gave an insight in their work. Most of the visitors this year counted the stations Fedderwardersiel, Maasholm, Laboe and Neustadt, Timmendorf and Zingst - 2,000 to 3,000 people came there alone. In some places the event lasted two days.
If you would like to get a particularly intensive insight into the work of the sea rescuers: You can apply to the DGzRS until August 8th as part of the initiative "Become a sea rescuer for a day".