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Two Barmouth RNLI Lifeboats and helicopter in all-night rescue

Lifeboats News Release

Both Barmouth RNLI Inshore Lifeboat (ILB) and the All-weather lifeboat (ALB) were launched last night to a report from HM Coastguard of a capsized dinghy.

The 30ft Etap yacht Miss Millie from Wexford, Ireland, had arrived in Barmouth earlier that afternoon on passage from Aberystwyth.  They were accompanied by fellow sailors on Yacht Dido and both boats moored in the harbour.  The crews had rowed ashore earlier in the evening to watch Wales play Portugal in the Euro semi-finals. The three sailors had been rowing back to their boat when they were swamped by a wave and their boat capsized in the main channel. With the strong ebb tide flowing at 4 to 5 knots, they were soon swept out to sea.

When they were alerted by HM Coastguard the ILB volunteer crew launched immediately at 01.18 and began a search of the harbour and channel as far as Friog in dark and poor visibility and a south westerly force 3 wind. The RNLI ALB the Moira Barrie was also launched at 01.36 and scoured the area with its powerful searchlights.  They were joined by the HM Coastguard Search and Rescue helicopter.

At 0307 the ALB located the casualties who had drifted a considerable distance out over the bar and into the bay. The three men had managed to right the dinghy but it was swamped with water.  None of them were wearing lifejackets.  The casualties were very cold, tired and shocked when they were taken aboard the ILB and quickly transferred to the ALB where they could be checked over and warmed up.  They were brought to the beach and transferred to the Maritime Service vehicle then taken to the lifeboat house where they were able to get showered and warmed before being returned safely to their yacht.

​The men returned to the lifeboathouse later that day to thank the crew and said: ‘We were rowing out towards our boat and were in the main channel when a wave hit us and we capsized.  We hadn’t realised how strong the tide was and were soon swept out, but managed to hang on to the boat.  We were in the water for some time before we saw the lifeboat’s searchlights and heard the helicopter. We are very grateful to the crew, they were brilliant.  We will be going back to Ireland tomorrow.’

 Both boats returned to the station by 04.45 and were ready for service again by 05.30.

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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Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 or by email.


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