Clacton RNLI’s volunteers respond to Mayday call 10 miles from Clacton Pier

Lifeboats News Release

The volunteers of Clacton RNLI responded to a Mayday call from a yacht aground on the South West Sunk sand bank, 10 miles south east of Clacton Pier.

Pete Inman

Library photo of David Porter MPS
At 8.25am June 30, by request of UK Coastguard the RNLI Atlantic class inshore lifeboat, David Porter MPS, was launched on to a slight/moderate sea with a 16mph westerly wind. The volunteer crew of four were tasked with locating the stricken vessel and assisting it and its occupants to safety.

The wind farm support vessel Windcat 18 was standing by just in case assistance was needed before the arrival of the Lifeboat, as it too had responded to the yacht’s Mayday call on Ch16. (All vessels monitor this channel.)

Just as the RNLI Lifeboat arrived on scene the 34ft yacht managed to refloat and get free of the sand bank. After ascertaining the welfare of the man, woman, and child aboard the yacht, and its condition, the occupants were happy to make their own way back to West Mersea unaccompanied. The crew of the David Porter MPS lifeboat were then stood down by UK Coastguard to return back to station, where they were recovered at 9.30am.

The owner of the yacht later sent a message to the volunteers which read; ‘Just wanted to say a big thank you for coming out to us today. Even though we had managed to refloat it was a comforting sight to see you and we are very grateful. We are now safely back on our mooring at West Mersea.’

Helmsman Danny Thatcher said; ‘Not every job is high drama, we are often only needed for reassurance after a mishap, for which we are always happy to oblige. This service highlights one of the biggest dangers in our area for water craft. A good understanding of chart work is essential to avoid the sand banks, and submerged objects, such as the rock break waters which can’t be seen at high water.’

On June 29 just before 7pm, Clacton RNLI’s D class inshore lifeboat Arthur Hamilton was also launched, to reports of a person struggling in the water at Martello Bay. On arrival the person had made their way back to shore, allowing the volunteer crew to be diverted to investigate an object in the water off Holland on Sea. This was discovered to be a large yellow pontoon bumper which was towed ashore and secured.

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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 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and 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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