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Overdue Dutch yacht helped by Lowestoft RNLI lifeboat crew

Lifeboats News Release

The solo sailor on a Dutch yacht which was giving cause for concern as it had been at sea for three days and couldn’t be contacted - has been located and towed to safety by Lowestoft RNLI lifeboat

Lifeboat Coxswain John Fox said “the 32 foot yacht named ‘Unity’ had left Den Helder in The Netherland on Friday and was heading for Lowestoft. But when the vessel failed to arrive, a concerned relative called the coastguard and asked for help to contact the skipper. They broadcast a radio message to all vessels in the area and a Dutch coastguard aircraft was also sent to try to locate the missing vessel and successfully spotted the becalmed yacht.”


“The volunteer crew of our Shannon class lifeboat Patsy Knight were paged just after 6.15pm on Sunday and we launched straight away to help the stranded vessel. The yacht was 14 miles east of Lowestoft and it took us just over half an hour, going through patchy fog, to reach her. The sailor was pleased to see us and told us that he had been at sea for three days and had become becalmed and was just drifting around. He had resorted to using his auxiliary engine but with only a small capacity had run out of fuel. He didn’t realise that the coastguard were trying to contact him as his radio only had a limited range – but when he saw the coastguard aircraft overhead - he managed to make radio contact.”


​Having connected a towline to the Dutch yacht, the RNLI charity’s lifeboat took just under three hours to bring the disabled vessel back into the harbour where it was moored at the Royal Norfolk and Suffolk yacht club and met by the Lowestoft and Southwold Coastguard Rescue Team.


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