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Whitby and Staithes RNLI launched to yacht with four adults and child on board

Lifeboats News Release

Volunteers lifeboat crews from Whitby and Staithes RNLI were both at sea for nearly three hours on Tuesday night (21 February) as they sped to help a yacht in trouble.

The alarm was raised at 7.30pm after the 10m yacht reported engine problems near Boulby cliffs between Staithes and Skinningrove.

With a westerly wind rising to Force 7 there were fears that the vessel with four adults and a child aboard could be driven onto the rocks.

Humber Coastguard requested launches at both Whitby and Staithes RNLI stations and although the yacht regained power there were concerns that she would face steering difficulties so both volunteer crews were tasked to escort her to her base in Hartlepool, where she was docked safely.

Whitby RNLI Coxswain Mike Russell said 'They did the right thing to contact us once they started experiencing difficulties, the weather was getting progressively worse and we decided that although they were up and running again, the safest option was to escort the yacht back to port.'

Another vessel, the DVS Curtis Marshall, also assisted with the initial search for the yacht. The diving team had been working on repairs to the underwater pipe for Boulby potash mine. The crew spotted the yacht on their passage back to Hartlepool and updated the RNLI with its location

Whitby RNLI station mechanic Richard Dowson said 'We'd like to thank the crew on the Curtis Marshall for their support, the yacht in question was having trouble with communications so we were grateful to receive information that helped us reach it as quickly as possible.'

The volunteer crew's lifeboats, Whitby’s all-weather George and Mary Webb and Staithes’ inshore Sheila & Dennis Tongue III, returned to their stations by 10.30pm after a passage of some 45 miles at sea.

'It was a lengthy operation in tricky wind conditions,' said Sean Baxter, Deputy Launch Authority with Staithes and Runswick RNLI, 'so in the circumstances it was a sensible precaution to have both lifeboats escort the vessel safely home.'

Notes to Editors

For more information contact Whitby Lifeboat Press Officer Ceri Oakes on 07813359428 or at

Photo: Whitby RNLI volunteer crew launch the all-weather lifeboat to respond to a yacht in difficulties. Credit: Ceri Oakes/RNLI

Whitby RNLI volunteer crew launch the all-weather lifeboat to respond to a yacht in difficulties

RNLI/Ceri Oakes

Whitby RNLI volunteer crew launch the all-weather lifeboat to respond to a yacht in difficulties

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