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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

RNLI media contacts

For more information please contact Chris Rundle, RNLI Minehead Lifeboat Press Officer, on 01984 639026 or by emailing

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