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St Bees RNLI volunteers in early morning yacht rescue.

Lifeboats News Release

At 3:45am on Monday 3 July the volunteer crew at St Bees RNLI were requested to go to the assistance of a 10.5m yacht. The yacht was reported to be in difficulty about three miles from Whitehaven Harbour.

St Bees volunteers returning to station after successfully tow a sailing boat into Whitehaven Harbour

RNLI/Colin Wadey

Returning to station

The sailing boat with one person on board was returning to Whitehaven after a three-week trip around the West Coast of Scotland. Whilst waiting in Saltom Bay for the tide to provide enough water to get into the harbour the yacht suffered engine failure. It was clear to the solo yachtsman that the engine could not be restarted so he called for assistance.

The RNLI volunteer crew from St Bees lifeboat Joy Morris MBE arrived at the stricken yacht soon after being paged by UK Coastguard. As there was only one person onboard the yacht it was decided to place two of the lifeboat crew onboard to help the now tired sailor. The RNLI volunteers soon took the yacht in tow and made their way into Whitehaven Harbour were members of Whitehaven HM Coastguard met them.

Dick Beddows St Bees RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager said: 'This was an experienced skipper who carried out the correct procedures throughout the rescue this helped the RNLI volunteers on the lifeboat to bring the yacht safely into the harbour.

'I would also like to thank Whitehaven Harbour for their assistance as well as the local fishing boat for their co-operation when entering the harbour.'

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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Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

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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