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RNLI Bristol Channel rescue in strong winds

Lifeboats News Release

The Lifeboat volunteers were paged on Saturday (20th) at 11.34am as multiple calls from the public came in reporting a yacht sailing with difficulty in Redcliffe Bay, Portishead.

With the weather conditions due to deteriorate rapidly during the afternoon and into the evening My Lady Anne was launched to investigate.

As the crew arrived on scene the skipper of the yacht said that they did not need assistance. With three people on board and none of them wearing lifejackets, the crew asked if they had any, to which they were told they only had one between them.  The small yacht was under sail in a worsening sea conditions, strong winds, an outgoing tide and on a couple of occasions it was turned sideways by the waves.   Helm Ian Lazenby decided to stay with yacht until it had reached safety. 
On passing Battery Point, an area in the Severn Estuary where the waves can become large and steep in bad weather, the yacht got in to difficulty with a rope wrapped around the steering gear. It was at that point Ian made the decision to move in again and offered to tow the yacht.

He said: 'The yacht was in danger of not getting to safety and we were very concerned for the crew. The skipper made the right decision to accept our help.  The waters around here can be treacherous and to be in a boat of that size in the expected Force 9 due later on Saturday we had to get them out of harm’s way.'

Whilst under tow the lifeboat and the casualty vessel were now being buffeted by strong winds and large waves.  Portishead Coastguards and RNLI shorecrew watched from shore as the vessel was bought around by Portishead Pier.  After a four hour rescue shorecrew were there to help prepare My Lady Anne again for the next call out. She was ready for service again at 3.45pm when Ian was able to rejoin his friends at their golden wedding anniversary party, crew members Andy and Jake could carry on with their weekends and Nick was able to go on his annual holiday.

When going out to sea please always wear a lifejacket, check them regularly, carry a means of contacting the shore and check the weather before you go. #RespectTheWater #ColdWaterShock

RNLI notes to editors

Images ©RNLI Portishead
1. Crashing through the waves
2. Moving in to help
3. Throwing the line

RNLI media contacts

For more information please contact Helen Lazenby, volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer, on 07800 595995 or the RNLI Press Office 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