The volunteers of Weston RNLI and Penarth RNLI work together to save two yachts
When two different yachts lost their steering it took two lifeboat stations to bring them to safety on one afternoon.
It was a blustery day in the Bristol Channel when, at high tide, a yacht sailing near Birnbeck Island suffered steering failure at the north end Weston Bay. The vessel was being inexorably driven onto the rocks of the island so a distress call was issued. Milford Haven Coastguard paged the volunteer crew of Weston RNLI lifeboat station. Within minutes they launched both lifeboats.
The casualty vessel was soon taken in tow by the Atlantic Lifeboat Paul Alexander. It was determined that the yacht’s home port was Cardiff. As the Weston lifeboat took it across the Bristol Channel the Coastguard decide to callout the Penarth Lifeboat Maureen Lilian to take the yacht into Cardiff Barrage.
However shortly after Penarth Launched, another distress call was heard for another yacht having steering problems in the vicinity of Weston Buoy. The Weston D Class lifeboat Adrian Beaumont was tasked to attend that yacht but it turned out to be larger than could easily be coped with by that size of lifeboat. After they made contact the Coastguard tasked the Penarth Atlantic lifeboat to take this second vessel in tow towards Cardiff Barrage.
Both tows made their way to Cardiff and locked in to the barrage. The Weston lifeboat was refuelled by the Penarth crew and then made its way back to its station. During this combined and complex rescue both the Weston and Penarth D class lifeboats were made available in case another call was received.
Jennie Williams, Deputy Launching Authority for Weston station said; ‘It was great to be working with our friends from Penarth and thanks to them for refuelling us. This episode shows the importance of all who use the sea being careful about the maintenance of their equipment. The Bristol Channel, with the second highest tides in the world is no place to be without steerage
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 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.