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
For enquiries outside normal business hours, contact the RNLI duty 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.