Ilfracombe RNLI lifeboat assists exhausted sailors

Lifeboats News Release

Ilfracombe RNLI all-weather lifeboat (ALB) launched at 4:30pm on Saturday 11 August to a 21ft yacht with a father and son on board struggling in near gale-force conditions near Lynmouth.

As the lifeboat was being recovered from an earlier helicopter winching display for the annual ‘Birdman’ event, they were tasked to reports of the yacht struggling in the strong winds and heavy squally showers.

Upon arrival at the scene, volunteer crew member Andy Day was transferred aboard the yacht whose two exhausted sailors were cold, wet and suffering the effects of seasickness.

The lifeboat towed the yacht the 13 miles back to Ilfracombe harbour where her crew were given warm drinks at the station until they could be collected.

Andrew Bengey, volunteer RNLI coxswain at Ilfracombe, said:

‘This was an unfortunate situation for the yacht’s crew to find themselves in. The weather we experienced on Saturday meant that they just got caught out in the bad conditions. When sailing, always wear an appropriate lifejacket and always carry a means of calling and signalling for help.’

RNLI media contacts

For more information contact Jessica Putt, Media Engagement Placement, at or Emma Haines, Regional Media Officer, at

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.

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 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or by email.