Fleetwood skipper who saved lives at sea could be honoured with memorial

A Fleetwood fisherman who spent almost as much time at sea as he did on dry land may receive a memorial plaque and tree on the seafront he loved in honour of his years of maritime service.

Friday, 16th April 2021, 12:30 pm
Updated Friday, 16th April 2021, 2:54 pm
Ian with his award in the 1980s

Ian Bragg, 74, of Medlock Avenue, died on March 11 of advanced vascular dementia.

He was the captain of a fishing boat for many years, and following that he was made ferry master of the Fleetwood to Knott End ferry. He worked as a coxswain for the Morecambe Bay pilot boat throughout the 1980s and 90s, during which time he would offer his own boat to the Fleetwood lifeboat service whenever they ran short of volunteers.

In 1983 he was awarded a bravery award from the Liverpool Shipwreck and Humane Society after saving the life of a man who had fallen into the River Wyre Estuary.

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Ian Bragg

His daughter Nicola, 49, said: "As a young lad Dad won the Fleetwood and district junior angler award. Fishing and a love of the sea was always Dad’s main passion. He gained his skippers ticket and this was when he really came into his own, he became the ‘master of the sea’.

"Dad had an eye for the sea and could see for miles even before anybody else could see things! He had a unique talent and could ride those waves better than most men and was always happy to teach and share his skills with the younger up and coming crew members. Pilots were often heard saying that they felt safe with our dad and that he was one of the best skippers around.

"Dad also found and brought ashore bodies who had drowned at sea, enabling them to be given back to their families giving them the send-off they deserved."

A memorial tree and plaque in honour of Mr Bragg have been proposed for Fleetwood Esplanade by Wyre councillor David Henderson.

Ian's love of the sea was lifelong

Nicola said: "I feel really proud. I think it's a really lovely gesture. My dad would be really humbled but it because for him, he was just doing his job. It would be fantastic to be able to take his grandchildren and great-grandchildren there and watch the tree grow."