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RNLI crew member issues equipment warning to sailors after cabin cruiser rescue

Lifeboats News Release

Amateur sailors have been advised to ensure their boats are properly equipped before setting out after a broken down cabin cruiser was towed in by Minehead’s volunteer lifeboat crew at the weekend.

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The station’s Atlantic 85 was launched on Friday evening after the boat’s owner contacted coastguards to inform them that his engine had failed. He was about a mile and a half east of Watchet harbour, experiencing moderate sea conditions.

The lifeboat was alongside in minutes and the vessel’s owner then managed to restart his engine, but almost immediately fouled the propeller on the anchor line.

Crew member Jake Sanderson entered the water and managed to cut the rope away. The decision was then taken to tow the cruiser into Watchet harbour.

Helmsman Andrew Escott commented that the towing operation went smoothly. He said: 'We got him into the outer harbour and then he said he would be OK to get to his berth by himself. But as soon as he started up his engine, the boat began heading straight for the harbour wall because the steering had failed, so we took him in tow again and got him into the marina.'

'We then discovered that he didn’t have a mooring line so we had to lend him one of our ropes. Having something to moor the boat up with is a pretty fundamental requirement on any trip out to sea. We can only stress how important it is to make sure every boat is adequately and fully equipped before it is taken out, particularly in the Bristol Channel where the weather and tidal conditions can change so rapidly.'

RNLI safety advice

In 2015, our lifeboats were called out 1,217 times to motorboats in trouble in UK and Irish waters. The largest single cause of call outs was due to machinery failure. If your boat has an engine, we strongly recommend that you know the basics of starting, running and maintaining that engine. Always make sure you have a means of calling for help or signalling for assistance and always wear a lifejacket. You can find out more about how to stay safe while sailing at www.rnli.org/safety/choose-your-activity/yacht-sailing-and-motorboating.

RNLI media contacts

For more information please contact Chris Rundle, RNLI Minehead Lifeboat Press Officer, on 01984 639026 or by emailing info@imprintpr.eu.

Key facts about the RNLI

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 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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Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or or by email.