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RNLI Skegness Volunteers in ten-hour search and recovery of two casualty vessels

Lifeboats News Release

Crew from Skegness RNLI were paged at 1:30am this morning (Friday 10 November 2017) to search for, and recover, two vessels and four passengers stranded in the Wash.

The six-man team of the stations Shannon class all-weather lifeboat Joel and April Grunnill were tasked by UK Coastguard based at Humber to initially locate and tow to safety, a 6 meter yacht (SV Daisy), out of fuel somewhere in the lower wash.

Using the vessels last known co-ordinates the volunteer crew proceeded to navigate the state of the art lifeboat south to an area of the Wash charted as the Long Sands. Whilst en route, communications from the coastguard revealed that a second vessel, a motor boat (MV Belle) that was trying to locate the first vessel, was also in difficulty.

Once on scene the crew fired two white para flares, used to illuminate large areas of sea using a phosphorous rocket to provide a brilliant white light. Upon seeing these search flares the original casualty vessel was able to flash a light to attract the attention of the crew who manoeuvred the lifeboat carefully toward the yacht to find it at anchor in 80cm of water, aground on the Long Sands. The crew skilfully navigated the lifeboat close enough to allow the two crew of the yacht to come aboard, it then moved out to deeper water and proceeded to search for the second stricken vessel, leaving the yacht at anchor for recovery later.

The second casualty was located by a wind farm cable guard vessel (Channel Chieftain 7) which stood by the motor boat until the Shannon arrived alongside. The crew of this vessel were also taken aboard the all-weather lifeboat and were kept warm and dry.

Crew from RNLI Hunstanton, aboard the stations relief B class Atlantic lifeboat Irene Cornford, was launched to assist in the recovery of the two vessels. Once on scene, the Hunstanton crew took the original casualty (yacht) in an alongside tow and the Skegness crew took the motor vessel in an astern tow. All four made their way south to the port of Boston where both casualty boats were moored up and the respective lifeboats returned to station. The Joel and April Grunnill was re-housed shortly before 1pm.

Picture of rescued vessel being towed by Skegness lifeboat in calm seas at dawn.

RNLI/Tony Kelly

MV Bell being towed to port of Boston

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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Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

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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