RNLI Skegness Volunteers in ten-hour search and recovery of two casualty vessels
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.
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, in a normal year, 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.