Ramsgate RNLI assists a yacht on fire.

Lifeboats News Release

On Wednesday 10 July at 12:04pm Ramsgate's All-Weather Lifeboat was launched at the request of HM Coastguard to a yacht on fire with a view to towing it back to Ramsgate.

A burning yacht being hosed down by an attending Wind Farm vessel.

RNLI/Ian Cannon

The yacht on fire viewed from the All-Weather Boat with the Typhoon Tow hosing it down.

Whilst the Ramsgate lifeboat Esme Anderson made its way to the casualty the North East Spit pilot launch, which was passing by saw the vessel alight and headed in its direction. The pilot boat then retrieved the family of three male adults and one teenage boy from their life raft, took them aboard, along with their life raft, and brought them back to Ramsgate Harbour.

Also during this time a wind farm support vessel called Typhoon Tow had arrived on the scene and using their fire hose, attempted to put the fire out. Once the all-weather boat arrived on scene the volunteer RNLI crew set up two further fire hoses and assisted in trying to put the fire out. After about three quarters of an hour of hosing the vessel down, it took on sea water, as the level of the hull had burnt to the sea level and sank, fortunately into water deep enough to not cause any issues to other passing boats.

The obviously shaken family were welcomed with a cup of tea at the Ramsgate RNLI station where they explained that it was their maiden voyage in their yacht having collected it from Ipswich, from a previous owner, with the intention of a family holiday sailing it around the South coast and back to their home in the North of England. The fire had occurred when they switched the engine off, six miles off the North Foreland with the intention of putting the sails up to go sailing.

The experienced crew of the yacht, who were all wearing lifejackets, called Mayday then attempted to fight the fire with the two onboard fire extinguishers but realised that they were unable to contain it so launched their life raft and evacuated the yacht. They weren’t in it for long before the passing pilot boat spotted the smoke and came to assist. Fortunately the sea state was calm and so they were able to take the life raft as well as the family onboard.

In this instance everyone was safe but Ramsgate RNLI Coxswain Ian Cannon explained that the RNLI are unable to tow a burning yacht or bring one into a harbour, which is why they attempted to put the fire out at sea. He added, 'When sailing always wear a life jacket or buoyancy aid, ensure everyone onboard knows how to call for help, get appropriate training and check your engine and fuel before every trip.'

He continued, 'The RNLI is funded purely through public donations and the mainly volunteer crew are on call every hour of every day to save lives at sea.'

Media Contacts:

Karen Cox, Ramsgate volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer (07779) 848431 coxinthebox63@gmail.com

Paul Dunt: Regional Media Officer (London/South East) Email paul_dunt@rnli.org.uk Tel. M. 07785296252 L. 01202336789

image taken through the windscreen of the windfarm vessel of the smoke and a crew member hosing the burning yacht.

Windfarm Employee/ Darren Haxell

The view from onboard the Typhoon Tow windfarm vessel.
The yacht sinking below the waves.

Windfarm Employee/Darren Haxell

The yacht sinking below the waves

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.