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 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, in a normal year, 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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