RNLI volunteers launch in Force 6 winds to a struggling yacht

Lifeboats News Release

On Thursday 8 June 2017 the volunteers at St Bees RNLI were requested to launch by UK Coastguard and go to the assistance of a boat with five people on board struggling in stormy conditions near Whitehaven.

St Bees lifeboat launching to go to the aid of a 9 metre yacht

RNLI/Colin Wadey

Launching on service

The RNLI volunteers were paged by the UK Coastguard at 11:38am who had received a call for help from a 9 metre yacht about four miles off Whitehaven Harbour.

With winds gusting up to 40 mph, in strong seas and poor visibility, the yacht was finding it extremely difficult to make any progress towards the harbour. As the yacht and her crew were not in any immediate danger the decision was made to escort them back to the harbour.

It soon became apparent to the volunteers on the RNLI lifeboat that progress in the rough conditions was very slow and some of the crew on the yacht were starting to suffer the effects of seasickness. At this time it was decided the safest and quickest course of action would be to tow the yacht into the harbour.

In challenging seas, the crew from St Bees lifeboat along with the excellent co-operation from the staff at Whitehaven Harbour brought the boat successfully through the lock and into the safety of the harbour. Once inside the harbour the yacht and her crew were handed over to Whitehaven HM Coastguard.

Dick Beddows St Bees RNLI Operations Manager said ‘The weather at this time of the year can be unpredictable. Before setting off it is advisable to check the forecast and tides that apply to your voyage and brief the crew in what to do if things do go wrong. Always make sure everyone on board has a lifejacket that is fit for purpose and that they wear it. It is also worth asking your local pharmacist for advice in helping to prevent seasickness which is very debilitating when it strikes’

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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