Motor sailer assisted by Margate RNLI lifeboat
Margate’s RNLI all-weather lifeboat has aided a motor sailer after coastguards became concerned for its safety in busy shipping lanes in the Thames Estuary.
The 55ft motor sailer with two persons on board was on passage from Eastbourne to Clacton in Essex and had been assisted by another south coast RNLI lifeboat the previous day. The vessel’s subsequent progress was being monitored by UK Coastguard and with a lack of communication they became concerned for the crew’s welfare as it crossed the busy Thames Estuary shipping channels.
Margate RNLI was asked to assist and just before 1pm yesterday (Monday 17 September) it was agreed that the station’s all-weather lifeboat would launch to check on the vessel’s progress.
The vessel was around nine miles north-north-east of the lifeboat station at the time and once the lifeboat arrived on scene it was established that the crew were safe and well but were experiencing problems with the vessel’s machinery. Given the distance offshore and the proximity to busy shipping lanes it was agreed that the lifeboat would take the vessel in tow to the safety of Ramsgate harbour. The craft was subsequently safely moored in Ramsgate where it was met by Margate Coastguard Rescue team and the lifeboat returned to station.
Nick Smith, Deputy Launching Authority Margate lifeboat said: “In these instances we would rather respond and provide any assistance necessary at an early stage before the situation escalates and perhaps changes into a more complex operation perhaps in the dark and worsening weather conditions which in this case was forecast. We urge anyone at sea in such situations to talk to the coastguard at an early stage if they encounter problems no matter how trivial.”
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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.