Margate’s RNLI all-weather and inshore lifeboats have taken part in a 12 hour search and rescue operation involving a yacht in distress in the Thames Estuary.
The lone sailor made a Mayday distress call around 3pm yesterday afternoon (Tuesday 5 July) after his yacht suffered engine failure. He asked for assistance and the initial position provided was in the Queens Channel around four miles north of Margate. Margate’s all-weather lifeboat was launched to assist.
There was some confusion about the yacht’s actual position and a second estimation assessed it to be some 22 miles north of Margate. Despite the yacht firing two distress flares neither the lifeboat nor other vessels searching the area including a pilot cutter and windfarm support vessels were able to locate the yacht.
Subsequently a windfarm support vessel sighted the yacht in shallow water close to the Margate Sands, around three miles north-west of Margate. With concern about the welfare of the yacht’s occupant Margate’s inshore lifeboat was launched to provide more immediate assistance. The occupant was taken on board the inshore lifeboat and landed at Margate and after being checked over by South East Coast Ambulance Service was given shelter at the lifeboat station and taken to a local hotel for the night.
The yacht was by now aground on a falling tide so the all-weather lifeboat remained on scene and was able to tow it clear on the rising tide just before midnight. After checking the yacht’s seaworthiness it was towed to the safety of Ramsgate harbour to be reunited with its owner.
Ian Lowe, Margate lifeboat deputy launching authority said: “This was a long service call for the volunteer crew and its complexity reinforces the need for both an all-weather and inshore lifeboat at Margate.”
RNLI media contacts
- Peter Barker, RNLI Margate Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer
- Tim Ash, RNLI Public Relations Manager (London/East/South East) on 0207 6207426, 07785 296252 firstname.lastname@example.org
- James Oxley, RNLI Press Officer (London/East/South East)
For enquiries outside normal business hours, contact the RNLI duty press officer on 01202 336789
Key facts about the RNLI
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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