Exmouth RNLI rescue yacht with broken mast in centre of Lyme Bay

Lifeboats News Release

On 28 July at 6.25am, Shannon class lifeboat R and J Welburn was tasked following a Pan Pan call for help from Lyme Bay at 5.30am, with no further communication.

Shannon class lifeboat R and J Welburn towed the Casualty vessel into West Bay to safety

Lyme Bay RIB Charter

The casualty vessel was towed into West Bay by the volunteers

At 6.48am, whilst travelling eastwards towards Sidmouth, Crew were given a more precise location by Naval frigate HMS Kent who were close to the scene. Once on location, 18 miles south of Lyme Regis at 7.25am, Crew discovered a 24' wooden yacht with two people on board, with a broken mast.

With 2-3m swells and confused sea conditions, HMS Kent assisted in passing over a Crew volunteer into the yacht, so a tow could be established. At 10.08am, the Shannon class lifeboat towed the casualty vessel into West Bay harbour.

Once the casualties were safely in the harbour, Crew made their way back towards Lyme Regis, arriving at 11am. R and J Welburn was due to take part in an exercise later in the afternoon as part of Lyme Regis Lifeboat Week, so a shorter demonstration was offered for our flank RNLI station's supporters.

Crew volunteers left Lyme Regis at 12.14pm and arrived on Exmouth beach at 2pm. After recovery, wash down and refuelling, R and J Welburn was ready for service again at 2.50pm.

Second Coxswain, Scott Ranft said:

‘The casualties were competent and fully equipped for their passage to Chichester. They did the right thing to send out a Pan Pan call for help at the time they did, as their antenna was on the mast which had broken in two and lost signal after that.

‘The Crew performed very well and we were pleased to make an appearance Lyme Regis Lifeboat Week. Sometimes we can’t make all public relations requests as our operational requirements have to take priority, but we were lucky to be tasked to their area this morning. We wish Lyme Regis a very successful Lifeboat Week.’

Notes to Editors


PR280718-1 The casualty vessel with a broken mast, 18 miles south of Lyme Regis

(Credit: Exmouth RNLI)

PR280718-2 View from casualty vessel of R and J Welburn in the waves

(Credit: Exmouth RNLI)

PR280718-3 Shannon class lifeboat R and J Welburn towing the casualty vessel into West Bay harbour.

(Credit: Lyme Bay RIB Charter)

For more information please telephone Emma Tarling, Exmouth RNLI Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer on 07837 810082 or email: emmatarling@ymail.com. Alternatively, please contact Emma Haines, South Press Officer on 07786 668847.

Shannon class lifeboat R and J Welburn set up a tow for the demasted yacht

Exmouth RNLI

The yacht was found on location with a broken mast
View of Shannon class lifeboat from the casualty vessel in choppy conditions

Exmouth RNLI

View from the casualty vessel under tow

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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.

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