Rhyl RNLI lifeboat crew recover unmanned yacht in busy shipping lanes.
The UK coastguard at Holyhead paged the crew at noon on Monday 6 August to recover the vessel, which was very close to the Douglas oil and gas complex, 12 miles out from Rhyl.
The vessel was also in the middle of the busy shipping lanes at the approaches to Liverpool, and had already travelled some 30 miles from where it was moored at Red Wharf Bay, Anglesey. The owner initially thought the vessel had been stolen. It was reported to the coastguard by the crew of the support vessel Vos Inspirer, guarding the complex.
The volunteer lifeboat crew launched the relief all-weather lifeboat The Lincolnshire Poacher and proceeded at full speed to the complex, navigating through the Gwynt-Y-Mor wind farm, reaching the location about an hour later. The support vessel had launched their daughter boat, and were using this to prevent the yacht getting any closer to the complex.
Once on scene, a lifeboat crew member was put on board, and the yacht was taken in tow back to Rhyl. The tow took about another two hours. By this time, the owner had been contacted, and had arrived at the station. He and his crew were taken to meet the lifeboat on the inshore lifeboat. Once on board, the owner then proceeded to start the yacht's engine, and after some checks, decided the vessel was fit to sail back to Deganwy marina. Once everything was checked, the lifeboats escorted the boat for a short while to make sure all was well, then returned to station by 5pm.
Rhyl RNLI lifeboat coxswain Martin Jones said: 'Although there were no casualties on the yacht, it could have been a different story if another vessel struck the yacht in the busy shipping lanes. As such, the boat was presenting a danger to shipping'.
He added : 'We are just glad to reunite the vessel with her owner'.
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.