Swanage lifeboat launches to sinking boat

Lifeguards News Release

The Swanage all-weather lifeboat was launched to the assistance of a yacht taking on water following running aground.

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The night before the 10m casualty yacht had struck the training bank just outside of Poole Harbour entrance. To avoid causing further damage the yacht remained high and dry on the rocks overnight while the skipper waited for the next high water.

The yacht, re-floated the following morning and made her way to Studland Bay, where the skipper discovered she was taking on water. The casualty yacht’s manual bilge pump could just about keep up with the water ingress, but with only the skipper on board further help was going to be needed to get the boat back to Poole, so the launch of Swanage Lifeboat was requested.

The volunteer lifeboat crew launched and were on scene just 10 minutes later. Two lifeboat crew were placed onboard along with the lifeboat’s salvage pump. With the pump running the vessel casualty headed under her own power towards Poole, escorted by the lifeboat.

The salvage pump was used to empty the bilges a few times on the passage to Poole, but the ingress wasn’t swift enough to keep the pump running continually.

As the casualty yacht needed to return to a location further into Poole harbour, Poole lifeboat was called to take over the tow of the casualty vessel to release Swanage lifeboat. Lifeboats regularly work with their flank stations and sometimes handover a casualty vessel to maintain optimal cover across their region, in particular when several rescues are occurring at the same time in an area.

With the crew and salvage pumps were swapped, the Swanage lifeboat was released to return to station and the Poole lifeboat safely returned the casualty vessel to a marina where the vessel could be lifted for further inspection.

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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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