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Workington RNLI lifeboat battles storm to secure dangerously swinging boat

Lifeboats News Release

Workington RNLI crew has hailed the capabilities of their new Shannon class lifeboat after a tricky call out in gale force winds and stormy seas.

Alun James

Workington RNLI's Shannon class lifeboat alongside the swinging boat in Maryport Marina

The volunteer crew were called out to reports of an 80ft houseboat which had broken free from some of its moorings in Maryport Marina.

The lifeboat crew were paged at around 8.30am on Monday (16 October) – as the tail of Hurricane Ophelia swept over the UK – and were on the water minutes later in their new Shannon Class lifeboat Dorothy May White. The crew battled winds gusting to force 8/9 and six metre waves to make their way the three miles north to Maryport.

There was nobody on board the houseboat, but it had broken all of its moorings apart from one mooring rope on the bow and was swinging dangerously in the big swell entering the outer harbour. The houseboat, a converted trawler though to be between 70 and 80 tonnes, had already hit the quay, causing damage, and there was concern as the tide came in further, it could swing further or come loose completely.

Negotiating big waves on the entrance to the marina in the manoeuvrable Shannon class lifeboat, the crew were able to reach the casualty vessel and transfer a crew member onto it. After a failed attempt to push the boat into a safer position the crew decided to set up a rope pulley around a mooring bollard on the land and connecting the lifeboat to the houseboat. Driving the Shannon away from the quay drew the houseboat closer and into a safer position, from where crew were able to reattach firm moorings and secure the boat.

Workington RNLI Coxswain John Stobbart said: ‘We have had seven or eight shouts with the Shannon since she arrived in the spring, but this one really put her through her paces.

‘Entering the marina was tricky due to the big swells running across the entrance, but the speed and manoeuvrability of the Shannon meant we were able to negotiate the waves safely. Setting up this kind of rope pulley isn’t a normal one for our crew, but there was a problem which needed solving and we used imaginations to do so quickly.

‘I would like to praise all the volunteer crew members involved in this shout – both on the boat and the other crew who travelled over land to Maryport to help attach the rope pulley.’

Notes to editors:

The attached pictures should be credited to Alun James. They show:

- Workington RNLI's Shannon class lifeboat alongside the swinging boat in Maryport Marina.

- The lifeboat crew had to tackle storm force conditions to reach Maryport.

- The crew were able to move the 80ft converted houseboat to safety using an impromptu rope pulley system.

For more information please contact Chris Cousens, RNLI Regional Media Officer, West, on 01745 585162 or 07748 265496 or by email on chris_cousens@rnli.org.uk.

Alun James

The lifeboat crew had to tackle storm force conditions to reach Maryport

Alun James

The crew were able to move the 80ft converted houseboat to safety using an impromptu rope pulley system

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 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.

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