Ilfracombe RNLI tows yacht to safety

Lifeboats News Release

Ilfracombe RNLI lifeboat launched to assist a yacht in difficulty following engine failure

Yacht being towed


Ilfracombe RNLI Lifeboat tows yacht to Watermouth harbour

The volunteer crew launched the Ilfracombe RNLI all-weather lifeboat The Barry and Peggy High Foundation 6.58 p.m. on Saturday 1 June to assist a 26 foot motorsailer yacht with 2 persons on board drifting near Highveer Point, six miles from Ilfracombe harbour. The yacht had suffered a failure of the engine cooling system which meant that the engine could not be run for more than a few minutes without overheating. Although the yacht was equipped with sails there was little wind so the yacht was drifting with no way of returning to port.

The conditions were good with a calm sea and only a light breeze, and the all-weather lifeboat was able to make good speed arriving on scene at 7.16 p.m. A tow line was quickly secured to the yacht and The Barry and Peggy High Foundation towed the vessel safely to Watermouth Harbour arriving at 8.00 p.m where the yacht was able to briefly use its engine to reach a mooring. The lifeboat then returned to Ilfracombe reaching the lifeboat station at 8.20 p.m.

RNLI volunteer Coxswain Carl Perrin says: ‘Mechanical failure is the single biggest cause of rescue call outs to sailing and motor cruisers, accounting for nearly 20% of all the RNLI lifeboat launches, knowing your boat and carrying spares, and being able to fit them could make the difference between having to call for help and being able to help yourself. At this time of year especially, we would suggest that after a boat has been out of the water for a long period of time over the winter, boat owners should run an engine test before undertaking their first trip to make sure all is well.’

Notes to editors

  • Ilfracombe lifeboat station has been operating since 1866. To learn more about the lifeboat station go to
  • RNLI Volunteer Coxswain Carl Perrin is available for interview
  • Ilfracombe RNLI station operates a Shannon class all weather lifeboat The Barry and Peggy High Foundation and a D class inshore lifeboat The Deborah Brown II. The station also operates a Shannon launch and recovery vehicle The June and Gordon Hadfield.

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For more information please telephone Paula Kingdon, RNLI Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer on 07786 433744 or or Emma Haines, Press Officer (South) on 07786 668847 or or contact RNLI Media and Public Relations on 01202 336789

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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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