Barmouth RNLI Inshore Lifeboat called out to Three Peaks Yacht Race sailors

Lifeboats News Release

Barmouth RNLI ILB crew volunteers launched on Wednesday 8 June at 10.40 pm in response to a report from a member of the public that a dinghy carrying three people was experiencing difficulties in the channel at the harbuour entrance.

The sailors, participants in the Barmouth to Fort William Three Peaks Yacht Race which starts from Barmouth on Saturday 11th June, were attempting to get back to their yacht in dark and foggy conditions.  The tide was flooding fast as they made their way to their yacht moored in the main channel and they were last seen being swept towards Barmouth bridge.


On launching, the ILB crew discovered the dinghy at Trwyn y Gwaith, the point of Ynys y Brawd, struggling to make their way through the back eddy in the main channel.  The occupants reported that they had seen a second boat which also appeared to be in difficulties in the strong tide, so after ensuring that the sailors were safely aboard their yacht, the ILB continued with a thorough two-hour search of the harbour area and the estuary up as far as Farchynys.


In the meantime the three sailors on the second boat reported to be in trouble had made their way back into the harbour, but could not be seen because of the descending fog.  They reported to the Yacht Club and the Lifeboat Station in order to assure the rescue services that they were safe.  The ILB returned to station at 1.15 a.m.


Second Coxswain Rob Williams said: ‘The water in this area is notoriously unpredictable, with strong eddies and hidden currents that can drag you out in seconds; even experienced sailors can get caught out.  We would urge anyone, no matter how short your journey, to make sure your craft is suitable for purpose and that each person is wearing a lifejacket.’


The incident coincided with coastal fatality figures released on 9 June by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution which show 20 people lost their lives around Wales’s coast last year, the highest number since 2011.


The figures are released as the charity enters the third year of its national drowning prevention campaign, Respect the Water, which aims to halve accidental coastal deaths by 2024.


The campaign is targeted at adult men, who account for by far the most incidents. Last year saw an increase in the number of men losing their lives on the Welsh coast. Between 2011 and 2014, men accounted for three-quarters (75%) of Welsh coastal deaths but, in 2015, this increased to 85%. 

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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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