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Yacht's mayday call sparks Bristol Channel alert

Lifeboats News Release

A motor yacht with three people on board sparked a major rescue operation involving three RNLI lifeboats in the Bristol Channel on the afternoon of Sunday 30 July.

The crew of the 7.6m vessel put out a mayday call, reporting that its engine had failed and it was taking on water just before 2pm while enroute from Penarth to Ilfracombe.

Both of Minehead RNLI's lifeboats were launched and the volunteer crew quickly located the yacht in St Audries Bay, east of Watchet. They were joined on scene by a coastguard helicopter.

Helmsman Andrew Escott said the yacht was completely disabled. He explained: 'When they realised they had been taking in water they tried to make it into Watchet marina but going against the tide the engine overheated.'

The two Minehead lifeboats were joined by Barry Dock lifeboat, which took the yacht in tow back to Penarth.

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