Foggy Rescue Conditions For Holyhead RNLI

Lifeboats News Release

Holyhead RNLI volunteer crew were called out this evening (Thursday July 11) to a boat in trouble in deteriorating weather just off the Holyhead coast.

RNLI/Simon Price

Holyhead ILB returning from the rescue in foggy conditions

Pagers sounded just before 8pm, citing a 32ft motor vessel, with two people on board, in difficulty half a mile from the Holyhead Breakwater end.

The inshore lifeboat Mary and Archie Hooper was launched soon after the call, and the four volunteers headed off to the location.

Initially weather was good, with a calm sea, and the lifeboat reached the stricken vessel quickly. The couple on board, who were on a fishing excursion to celebrate their 38th wedding anniversary, were in good health and fully equipped with lifejackets.

A tow was very quickly established, but a heavy fog began to descend, making visibility very poor. On contacting the UK coastguard to get permission to begin heading back with the stricken boat, the lifeboat crew were advised that the Stena Superfast ferry was embarking on her journey to Ireland, and it was too dangerous to attempt to cross her path at that point.

Heeding the advice, the lifeboat and casualty craft stayed clear of the ferry’s path for several minutes. As visibility was so poor, the lifeboat crew could not see the large ferry. They knew she was close; but using the specialist navigation equipment on board the ILB, they were able to retreat to a safe position and monitor the larger vessel so she could pass safely.

As soon as it was safe to do so, the crew then made their way back with the vessel, placing her on a mooring within Holyhead harbour.

ILB helm Dave Roberts said the crew worked well with the navigation equipment to ensure the rescue was carried out safely and efficiently.

He said:

‘The couple on board were relieved to see us. We got there just in time before the fog really descended; it was lucky they called us when they did. They were well equipped and just unlucky to suffer problems. I don’t think it was the anniversary night out they had planned!’

Lifeboat Operations Manager at Holyhead, David Owens, said,

‘This is a perfect example of how quickly weather conditions can change. When our crew set off at 8pm, it was bright and visibility was excellent, but this all changed rapidly, and in less than half an hour, the fog made for very challenging conditions with such poor visibility.’

He added;

‘The volunteers showed their adaptability at being able to cope so well with the changing conditions, using skills they have developed during hours of training.’

The ILB was back at station by 9.15pm, where she was prepared for further service.

For further information, please contact Vicki Owens, Holyhead Lifeboat Press Officer, on 07531 681409 or

RNLI/Vicki Owens

Holyhead ILB and volunteer crew heading out in clear conditions

RNLI/Vicki Owens

Only an hour later, when the ILB returned, conditions had rapidly deteriorated

RNLI/Vicki Owens

The ILB returning to shore, and the RNLI tractor

RNLI/Vicki Owens

The ILB volunteer crew back on dry land after their foggy shout

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 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.

Learn more about the RNLI

For more information please visit the RNLI website or Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. News releases, videos and photos are available on the News Centre.

Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or by email.