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Fowey RNLI lifeboat rescues fishing boat trapped by its own gear near rocks

Lifeboats News Release

On 13 April mid-morning a fisherman radioed the Coastguard for assistance having tailpiped his five metre open fishing boat.

Tailpiping is when the propeller of the boat gets caught in the ropes from the fishing gear.

Maurice and Joyce Hardy, Fowey’s Trent Class all-weather RNLI lifeboat, was launched with seven volunteer crewmembers on board to rescue the Boy Jowan which was anchored by its own crab pots to the sea bed with no way to free itself.  The lifeboat arrived on scene within 20 minutes of being called to find the fisherman fending his boat off the rocks with a boat hook

The fishing gear had been blown much closer to the land than it had been set during the storms over the weekend and this had made picking it all up far more difficult.

On arrival a rope was thrown to the casualty from the bow of the lifeboat and the vessel was dragged away from the rocks.  The inflatable XP boat had been made ready in case close work was needed with two volunteers in dry-suits, but the tow worked.

The fishing boat was moored alongside the lifeboat with its stern by the lifeboat’s bow to avoid risking the Trent’s own propeller. The gear was then retrieved from the sea bed, at first by hand and then using a grappling hook and the capstan on the bow of the Trent.

The boat was then towed into Gorran and tied to the inner quay and the gear was dropped nearby where it would dry out and be salvageable as the tide dropped.

Coxswain Jonathan Pritchard said, 'We were delighted to help such a well prepared and well equipped casualty. He made the task of rescuing him so much safer and easier.'

The volunteer crewmembers then returned the Maurice and Joyce Hardy to Fowey and were ready for service at 11.30am.

RNLI media contacts

For more information please contact Cath Ellis, volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer for Fowey RNLI on 07969 693218. For urgent calls out of hours please contact the Duty RNLI Press Officer on 01202 336789.   

Key facts about the RNLI

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is the charity that saves lives at sea. Our volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service in the United Kingdom and Ireland from 238 lifeboat stations, including four along the River Thames and inland lifeboat stations at Loch Ness, Lough Derg, Enniskillen, Carrybridge and Lough Ree. Additionally the RNLI has more than 1,000 lifeguards on over 240 beaches around the UK and operates a specialist flood rescue team, which can respond anywhere across the UK and Ireland when inland flooding puts lives at risk.

The RNLI relies on public donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. As a charity it is separate from, but works alongside, government-controlled and funded coastguard services. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824 our lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved at least 140,000 lives. Volunteers make up 95% of the charity, including 4,600 volunteer lifeboat crew members and 3,000 volunteer shore crew. Additionally, tens of thousands of other dedicated volunteers raise funds and awareness, give safety advice, and help in our museums, shops and offices.

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The RNLI is a charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SC037736). Charity number 20003326 in the Republic of Ireland