BARB Search & Rescue

News and information from BARB Search & Rescue in Burnham-On-Sea

BARB (formed as the Burnham Area Rescue Boat in 1992) is a registered charity that operates two life-saving rescue hovercrafts and an inshore rescue boat in the Bridgwater Bay area.

This page provides all the latest BARB charity news, launch reports and fundraising info. Please also follow BARB on Facebook and Twitter

BARB Latest News

Busy year reviewed at Burnham-On-Sea’s BARB Search & Rescue charity AGM

Dozens of people attended the AGM of Burnham-On-Sea’s rescue hovercraft charity BARB Search & Rescue on Friday (June 14th) when a busy year of...

Burnham Coastguards and BARB crews in early morning search for missing man

A major search of the Burnham-On-Sea coastline was launched on Friday morning (May 24th) for a missing person.
Burnham-On-Sea BARB hovercraft

Burnham’s BARB Search & Rescue joins national rescue organisation

Burnham-On-Sea's BARB Search & Rescue has become an affiliate member of a national search and rescue organisation.

Somerset’s newest Rotary Club makes its first donation to Burnham’s BARB

Somerset's newest Rotary Club has made its first donation in the shape of a £425 cheque to BARB Search & Rescue, the Burnham-On-Sea charity that runs life-saving rescue hovercrafts and inshore rescue boats.

Car rescued from sea at Brean as it becomes latest to get stuck

A car was recovered from the sea at Brean after it became stranded in the sea by the incoming tide on Saturday evening (May 4th).

Fun casino evening raises £1,400 for Burnham’s BARB Search & Rescue

Dozens of people have helped to raise £1,400 for Burnham-On-Sea's BARB Search & Rescue during a fun casino evening held at the weekend.

Beach walker injured in fall on Burnham beach helped by Coastguards and BARB

A lady was taken to hospital after suffering a suspected broken knee in a freak accident on Burnham-On-Sea beach today (Bank Holiday Monday).

Van lost to sea on Brean beach after owner misjudges the incoming tide

A Transit Van could not be saved before it was swamped by the incoming tide on Brean beach on Saturday evening (April 20th).

Safety warning after horse is rescued from mud on Burnham-On-Sea beach

A new safety warning has been issued by Coastguards after an exhausted stuck horse was rescued from deep mud on Burnham-On-Sea beach on Sunday (April 14th), prompting a major operation.

Burnham’s marine rescue crews called out twice during busy Saturday

Burnham-On-Sea's marine rescue services were called out twice on Saturday (April 13th) to two separate incidents.
Combwich river bank incident

Photos & video: Woman rescued after getting stuck in mud on river bank

Burnham-On-Sea's BARB hovercraft and RNLI lifeboats were called out this morning (Friday) after a walker became stuck in mud on a river bank.

Fun casino night fundraiser set to be held for Burnham’s BARB Search & Rescue

Final tickets are on sale for a Burnham-On-Sea charity’s fundraising casino night that is being held this month. BARB Search & Rescue is holding a...

‘Distressed’ person rescued from sea in Burnham after major search

A person in a distressed state was rescued from sea water in Burnham-On-Sea on Thursday evening (April 4th) following a major multi-agency search.
Lady rescued from thick fog on Brean beach

Disorientated lady rescued from thick fog on Brean beach by Burnham crews

A lady who became lost in thick fog on Brean beach was rescued by crews from Burnham-On-Sea on Friday evening (March 29th). Coastguards from Burnham-On-Sea...

Burnham crews called to rescue bird that had swallowed fishing hook and line in...

Volunteers from Secret World Wildlife Rescue and BARB Search & Rescue were called out on Sunday to help this 'distressed' bird which had swallowed a fishing hook and line.

Crews in late night call-out to ‘distressed’ woman in sea water in Burnham-On-Sea

Burnham-On-Sea's emergency services were called out late last night (Monday) to reports of a 'distressed' person in the sea. 

Air ambulance and crews called to Brean Down to help injured cyclist

An air ambulance landed on top of Brean Down today (Monday) to fly a teenager to hospital after he was injured in a cycling accident.

Walker helped after suffering knee injury in fall on Burnham-On-Sea beach

A walker has been helped from Burnham-On-Sea beach after suffering a leg injury in a fall near the lighthouse.

Burnham-On-Sea rescue crews launch night search for ‘person seen entering sea’

Burnham-On-Sea’s marine rescue services were called out last night (Tuesday) amid concerns that a person could be difficulty in the sea.

VIDEO: Burnham’s BARB crews rescue stranded car on Brean beach

A crew from Burnham-On-Sea's BARB Search & Rescue was called out on Sunday afternoon (January 13th) to rescue this vehicle stuck in mud on...

Blue Ridge Runners motoring group delivers boost to Burnham-On-Sea charity

A group of fundraising motoring enthusiasts has presented over £1,000 to a Burnham-On-Sea charity.

Rugby and football clubs play charity match for Burnham-On-Sea’s BARB Search & Rescue

A unique New Year's Day football match for charity was held in Burnham-On-Sea involving players from Burnham United Football Club and the town's Rugby Club.

Burnham-On-Sea Bowling Club hands donation to hovercraft charity BARB

Burnham-On-Sea Bowling Club has presented a donation to the town’s rescue hovercraft charity. The club’s over 60s captain, Don Bridges, has handed £400 to BARB during a presentation at the seafront hovercraft statio

Families head to see Santa’s grotto at Burnham-On-Sea hovercraft station

Father Christmas will be making a very special visit to Burnham-On-Sea’s hovercraft station this weekend when he sets up a unique grotto.

History of the Burnham hovercraft

The story behind Burnham’s ‘Spirit Of Lelaina’ hovercraft

BARB, the group that runs the hovercrafts, was formed in 1992 when it began fundraising for its first rescue craft and own boathouse. In June 1994 Anneka Rice and the BBC TV show Challenge Anneka came to the rescue, building us a boat house on Burnham seafront in just 72 hours!

With the help of a generous grant from The Foundation for Sport And The Arts, plus donations from local businesses, BARB was able to purchase the rest of the equipment it needed in order to become fully operational as a rescue boat service.

Following the tragic death of five year-old Lelaina Hall in the mud at Berrow in 2002, the Western Daily Press launched a hugely successful fundraising campaign which brought in a whopping £115,000.

This funded the purchase of a fully-equipped hovercraft – called The Spirit Of Lelaina – which is now stationed in the boathouse at Burnham. During its first summer of operation it helped and rescued up to 50 people. The Western Daily Press and its readers remain one of the biggest supporters of the service, raising many thousands of pounds towards its operation.

Challenge Anneka team built seafront HQ in just 72 hours!

How BBC’s Anneka Rice built BARB’s hovercraft station…

Anneka Rice in Burnham-On-SeaThe hovercraft station which today houses the Burnham-On-Sea hovercraft was built in a matter of hours in 1994 during a flying visit by Anneka Rice and the crew from the popular BBC TV show Challenge Anneka.

The group behind the Burnham Area Rescue Boat had been formed in 1992 when it began fundraising for its own boat house. In June 1994 Anneka Rice came to the rescue, building a boat house on Burnham-On-Sea seafront in just 72 hours!

The BBC’s TV crew were on hand to record every part of the rapid construction and the final TV show was broadcast on BBC1 a few months later in the prime-time Challenge Anneka show. Click here for the full story and photos.

Burnham's powerful tides in the spotlight on BBC show

BARB helps BBC’s Jeremy Clarkson and ‘Top Gear’

A Toyota Futura was left looking rather worse-for-wear after Jeremy Clarkson and the BBC Top Gear team submerged it in the sea at Burnham in October 2003!

Crew members from the Burnham Area Rescue Boat (BARB) helped the BBC crew put the off-road vehicle through a rigorous challenge by seeing whether the vehicle could survive one of Bridgwater Bay’s notorious storm tides.

The vehicle was parked on the town’s jetty and left to nature’s forces – but, not suprisingly, the sea won and the vehicle failed miserably! The episode was shown on primetime BBC television and helped to demonstrate the danger of the tides along Somerset’s coastline. Click here for the full story and photos.

Hovercraft Background

Facts, figures and photos regarding Burnham-On-Sea’s Spirit Of Lelaina hovercraft:

Technical facts about the hovercraft
Find out how hovercrafts work
Challenge Anneka to the rescue!
Hovercraft Web sites and links

How to contact us

EMERGENCIES: If you need urgent help, CALL 999 and ask for the Coastguard who will summon the hovercraft if needed.

OTHER CONTACTS: Call BARB’s Chairman on 07834 635 797. You can also write to us at: BARB, Marine Rescue Centre, The Esplanade, Burnham, TA8 1BB.

Donate to BARB

BARB is a registered charity that relies solely on donations to run its service. Its annual running costs are over £30,000. Unlike other rescue groups, no-one at BARB is paid – we are all volunteers – so every penny raised is put towards rescues, training and maintaining our equipment. Support us by sending cheques, payable to ‘BARB’, to BARB at Marine Rescue Centre, The Esplanade, Burnham, TA8 1BB. Make regular contributions: You can now download a form here to make regular contributions to BARB. Become a sponsor: Find out who supports and sponsors Burnham’s hovercraft and how you can get involved – here.

How to contact us

EMERGENCIES: If you need urgent help, CALL 999 and ask for the Coastguard who will summon the hovercraft if needed.

OTHER CONTACTS: Call BARB’s Chairman on 07834 635 797. You can also write to us at: BARB, Marine Rescue Centre, The Esplanade, Burnham, TA8 1BB.

Meet Our Crew

Hovercraft lifesavers

Click here to see the Burnham hovercraft team

BARB Sponsors

Hovercraft sponsors

See a full list of the companies and groups that help BARB – click here

BARB Merchandise

Help support BARB by buying our official merchandise, such as pens, mugs, postcards and more, from Burnham Tourist Information Centre on the town’s seafront. It’s open throughout the year.

Facts & Figures

Learn more about the capabilities of the Burnham-On-Sea hovercraft:

Facts and figures about the Spirit of Lelaina

Beach Safety

The beaches at Burnham-On-Sea, Brean and Berrow are among Britain’s most scenic coastal areas, but there are dangers here too. Take note of these tips:

Beach guide and safety advice for visitors


Hovercraft photo gallery

Click here for photos of the Burnham hovercraft