Swanage Lifeboat launches to boat on fire
The Swanage all-weather lifeboat was paged to boat on fire with two people onboard near Ballard Point. The outboard engine of the small powerboat had caught fire forcing the two people onboard to prepare to evacuate the vessel.
Passing vessels went to the aid of the casualties upon seeing smoke bellowing from the vessel. The crew onboard the burning vessel had anchored and moved fuel tanks to the bow of the boat, before leaping onto one of the passing vessels.
The lifeboat launched and was quickly on scene, first taking the two casualties onboard. The volunteer lifeboat crew also rigged their hose to enable them to spray water over the smoking engine. With no visible flames or smoke the Swanage lifeboat manoeuvred to take the vessel under tow without putting any crew aboard. The volunteer lifeboat crew were able to use the anchor line of the casualty vessel to position the casualty vessel in such a way that a tow could be connected and the small powerboat could be taken to waiting Dorset and Wiltshire Fire Service to ensure the fire was completely extinguished.
Deputy Second Coxswain, Gavin Steeden who took command for this rescue said “Our primary role in a fire situation is to rescue casualties from the vessel. If safe to do so, we will return the damaged vessel to the shore to reduce the environmental impact of fuel leaks and debris, as well as the risk of the remains of a vessel causing a hazard to shipping. As we had arrived before the fire had taken hold and had been told by the casualties that the fuel was disconnected we were able to get close enough to cool the engine using our hose system to spray water over the engine cover.”
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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.