Poole Lifeboats respond to a ‘Mayday’ call in Poole Harbour

Lifeboats News Release

Both Lifeboats were launched by UK Coastguard today (Wednesday August 15) at 2.20pm to a 14ft sailing dinghy with two people on-board that had capsized in the harbour.

The stricken vessel was between Parkstone Yacht Club and the Starting Platform, it had been on passage back from Studland Bay when it found itself in difficulty.

The occupants had struggled to right the vessel as it was swamped and its buoyancy containers were full of water, it also had an issue with its centre board so they were unable to right it, conditions out in Parkstone Bay were choppy, the wind was whipping up from the South West, to a force 4.

The casualties were getting cold they needed help, so they pressed the DSC alert (Digital Select Calling) or red button on their VHF radio. The red button issues a distress signal to the Coastguard and everyone listening, it is a ‘Mayday’ call to alert that they are in distress, and require immediate assistance, this is followed by a radio verbal call, ‘Mayday Mayday Mayday’. Some of the newer VHF Radio models will send the location via GPS.

When the lifeboats arrived on scene they found that other vessels had heard the ‘Mayday’, the Harbour launch, Parkstone safety boat and a passing Rib, all had responded, and had pulled the casualties from the water.

The casualties were transferred onto the Atlantic B class and immediately taken back to the lifeboat station to get warm and to be checked out.

The other lifeboat crew from the D class and some from the lifeboat stayed behind to secure the boat and bring it back to shore, the sailing dinghy was very heavy as it was full of water, the crew stowed the sails away and towed the dinghy back to Salterns slipway, they hauled it up out of the water to a higher spot so that it could begin draining.

Meanwhile, Poole coastguard met the sailors (who were okay) back at the lifeboat station, and took them back to Rockley to recover their vehicle and trailer.

The lifeboats were ready for service just before 4pm.

Volunteer Helm Alex Evans said:

‘The people with the capsized sailing dinghy did the right thing today, they had the correct PPE (personal protection equipment), buoyancy aids and a means to call for help, which they deployed. They had encountered an issue with their centre board that prevented them from getting the keel down to ‘right’ their vessel, they were struggling and getting tired so calling for help before the situation escalated further, was absolutely the right thing to do’.


The capsized dinghy being recovered

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.