Donaghadee RNLI tows broken down fishing boat with one onboard to safety
Donaghadee RNLI brought a fisherman to safety this morning (Tuesday 18 August) after the all-weather lifeboat crew were requested at 2.44am by Belfast Coastguard to come to the assistance of a 15m fishing boat with one person onboard.
The fishing boat, which was on passage from Ardglass to Mallaig in Scotland, ran into mechanical difficulties in the early hours of this morning and drifted ashore at Templepatrick, just south of Ballyvester beach.
The volunteer crew launched the RNLI all-weather lifeboat Saxon at 3am and in flat calm sea conditions and driving rain made full speed to be on scene in less than 10 minutes.
As the vessel was so far inshore with a falling tide, the daughter inflatable lifeboat was launched and crew members John Ashwood, Deputy Coxswain and Ross Bennett, crew member made their way to the fishing boat to assess the situation.
It was decided that they should attempt a tow and a towline was quickly established but the attempt was unsuccessful due to the tidal conditions. After liaising with Belfast Coastguard and the fishing boats skipper, the decision was made that the best plan of action would be for the lifeboat to return when the tide had risen. The lifeboat and crew returned to station at approximately 4.15am.
After a couple of hours sleep, the lifeboat crew then relaunched at 8am and in similar conditions made their way back to the fishing boat at Templepatrick. They were able to go alongside as the tide had risen sufficiently and the same two crew members were transferred along with a salvage pump and towline. The tow was established while the salvage pump removed any excess water, and the boat was towed off the rocks stern first. The towrope was then transferred to the bow of the vessel, and an assessment was made to ensure there was no damage to the hull.
Saxon then proceeded a slow tow to Bangor, while waiting for permission to enter the harbour, the lifeboat went alongside the vessel and transferred the lifeboat mechanic who was able to assess the mechanical difficulties and restart the fishing boat's engine.
After discussions with the skipper and the coastguard agreement was made that the vessel, now being under its own power, was able to proceed onwards to Mallaig.
Philip McNamara, Donaghadee RNLI Coxswain said: ‘I would just like to thank our volunteer crew members for being so quick to come to the assistance of this fishing boat and of course their willingness to return again a few hours later and lose part of their days work. A thank you to their employers also, for their flexibility. We all wish the skipper and his boat safe onward passage to Scotland.'
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.