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Bembridge RNLI's all-weather lifeboat out all night rescuing racing yacht

Lifeboats News Release

Bembridge RNLI's all-weather lifeboat 'Alfred Albert Williams' launched from the Isle of Wight at 00.31am following a request from the UK Coastguard to relieve RNLI Selsey's all-weather lifeboat which had a 39-foot racing yacht with two crew on board under tow.

RNLI/Mike Samuelson

AIS track for RNLB Alfred Albert Williams (Tamar 16-17)

The yacht, the Silver Shamrock, was under tow about seven miles east of the Nab Tower following a steering failure earlier in the evening.

The volunteer crew of the Tamar class lifeboat Alfred Albert Williams took over the tow at 01:06am in an unpleasant Force 6 East North Easterly. The initial plan had been to take the yacht to Portsmouth, however this was subsequently changed to Cowes on the Isle of Wight from where Silver Shamrock had set out from earlier in the day.

Having successfully completed the tow by approximately 04:15am, the Alfred Albert Williams remained alongside Trinity Pontoon for just under an hour to allow for the tide to drop and to give time for the swell on the slipway back at Bembridge to reduce sufficiently to allow a safe recovery of the lifeboat.

The Alfred Albert Williams left Cowes at 05:10am and returned to Bembridge via Sparkes Marina in Chichester to hand back Selsey's tow line. She was rehoused by 07:15am.

RNLI media contacts

  • Mike Samuelson, Volunteer RNLI Press Officer, Bembridge on (07785) 593254
  • Tim Ash, RNLI Public Relations Manager (London/East/South East) on 0207 6207426, 07785 296252
  • Paul Dunt, RNLI Press Officer (London/East/South East) on 0207 6207416, 07786 668825
  • 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.

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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