View as PDF


Lifeboats News Release

Friday night as the volunteers were settling down for the evening the pager sounded at 7.13pm. As the Crew arrived at the Lifeboat Station it became clear that there was a serious situation developing with a yacht and its 5 people on board were about to be stranded having run aground at high water.

Friday night was a high Spring tide which meant that if the RNLI Crew didn’t move fast the yacht with the people on board, would be stuck in the mud. Without delay the crew launched and were able to reach the casualty vessel just a few minutes later. They could be seen from the Lifeboat Station close to Portbury Wharf, just outside of Portishead Marina. Lines were thrown to the yacht and with just half a metre of water under My Lady Anne, Portishead’s Atlantic 85 Lifeboat, they pulled the casualty vessel to the safety of deeper water. The trouble wasn’t over yet, the high waves made setting up a tow line challenging but the Crew volunteers remained calm and organised. This is where the hours of training they commit to, paid off.

As the Skipper of the yacht tried to pull away from the mud using their engine a rope became tangled around the propeller. The strong, fast flowing tides in the Bristol Channel can be treacherous for boat users particularly when things go wrong. If the yacht wasn’t pulled to safety so quickly it could have taken 2 more weeks to move it before the next high Spring tide.

Ian Lazenby, RNLI Helmsman said ‘The crew of the casualty vessel were well equipped it is just unfortunate that they were caught out during their race. If the Skipper had left it much longer to call us, it could have been a different story for them. As we arrived on scene we had just half a metre of water below us so we had to work fast. The experienced Lifeboat Crew’s training paid off today, they were quick thinking and worked extremely well together to bring the yacht to safety.’

After a check to make sure all the casualties were fit and well they were towed to Portishead Marina where they were met by the Portishead Coastguard team. The crew from the yacht were very grateful to everyone who helped with their rescue and said that the RNLI were calm, professional and reassuring. To watch a video of the rescue taken from the helmet camera worn by crew volunteer and local GP Dr Jim Burtonwood, go to this link

Call out 2 for the weekend was Saturday night at 9.20pm the pagers sounded once again as a member of the public reported an object in the water just off of Clevedon Pier. As the crew were getting changed, Clevedon Coastguards arrived on scene and stood the Lifeboat Crew down before they launched. It was a call with good intent.

If you see something in the water you are not sure about always call 999 and report it to the Coastguards. It is always better to be safe.

RNLI notes to editors

All Images are ©RNLI Portishead

  1. Towing to safe ground
  2. Spotted the yacht
  3. Under tow
  4. Safety of Portishead Quays Marina

RNLI media contacts

For more information please contact Helen Lazenby, volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer, on 07800 595995 or the RNLI Press Office on 01202 336789.

RNLI online

For more information on the RNLI please visit News releases and other media resources, including RSS feeds, downloadable photos and video, are available at the RNLI Press Centre

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 230 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and has more than 200 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK. 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 140,000 lives.

A charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SCO37736). Charity number CHY 2678 in the Republic of Ireland

RNLI/Helen Lazenby

Towing to safety
Spotted the yacht

RNLI/Helen Lazenby

Under Tow

RNLI/Helen Lazenby

Safety of Portishead Quays Marina

RNLI/Helen Lazenby

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.

Learn more about the RNLI

For more information please visit the RNLI website or Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. News releases, videos and photos are available on the News Centre.

Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 or by email.


The RNLI is a charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SC037736). Charity number 20003326 in the Republic of Ireland