Two Barmouth lifeboats launched to yacht caught in Barmouth bridge.

Lifeboats News Release

Barmouth ILB was launched at 7.15 pm on Wednesday 3rd August in response to a report from HM Coastguard of a yacht caught in Barmouth bridge.

The 25ft motor-sailer Pelican had been swept through the harbour by high winds and the incoming tide and was caught fast on the bridge near the main arch. The gusting north westerly gale force winds and tide conditions made it difficult for the ILB to get near the yacht safely, so at 7.35 pm the all-weather lifeboat was launched.  From their position on the bridge, members of HM Coastguard were able to ascertain that there was no-one on board the boat, but the vessel was beating hard against the bridge in the surging waves, its mast level with the track.  It appeared that the boat had dragged its mooring to which it was still attached making it extremely difficult to tow the vessel off.

Although the boat was unoccupied and there were no lives in danger, its position posed a danger to shipping and, in the heavy seas, there was a danger of damage being done to the bridge supports.

High water for the 4.9 metre spring tide was due at 9.41pm and both boats stood by the vessel waiting for slack water and an opportunity to approach the vessel safely. 

When the opportune moment arrived, the ILB put a man aboard the stricken vessel. In the heaving seas, crew member Russ Courtney managed to climb aboard the yacht and cut the mooring cables. He was then recovered to the ILB. 

When the tide turned, Russ again bravely boarded the boat and with extreme skill and caution, the ALB coxswain manoeuvred the lifeboat and passed a towline.  Crew member Russ Courtney was able, with considerable expertise in the rough seas, to attach the towline.

The vessel was pulled off and made safe in the harbour by 10.45 pm.  Both boats returned to the station at 11.30 pm and were ready for service again by 12.15 am. 

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The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates over 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.

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