Swanage all-weather launches to Mayday call for sinking yacht
On Friday morning UK HM Coastguard received a Mayday call from a yacht, ‘Geechee’, that was reported to be sinking around 10 nautical miles southeast of Anvil Point, Swanage.
The Shannon class lifeboat launched and made their way at best speed, arriving on the scene around 20mins later to find the two people aboard preparing to abandon their sinking yacht. A crewman went aboard and immediately requested the salvage pump to be put aboard to try and control the water ingress whilst the source of the leak was assessed. The cabin area was found to be several feet under water with the levels rapidly rising.
The lifeboat salvage pump coped well with the ingress and removed enough water to enable one of the volunteer crewman on the casualty yacht to identify that the skin fitting for the main water intake of the engine had broken, leaving a 2.5 inch hole in the hull of the yacht. The hole was plugged using a bung and the yacht taken under tow.
Given the speed upon which the casualty vessel was taking on water it is thought the yacht was only minutes from sinking when the lifeboat arrived along with HM Coastguard helicopter. Coxswain Gavin Steeden said 'It was fortunate that we were able to arrive on scene so quickly as the vessel was moments away from becoming dangerously unstable and sinking due to the level of water on board'.
Arrangements were made to lift the damaged vessel from the water at Lake Yard in Poole, so the tow proceeded at about 6.5 knots towards Poole Harbour. The tow was passed to the Lake Yard tender in Poole Harbour to complete the tow and allow the Swanage lifeboat to return to station around five hours after launching.
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.