At 7:25pm on Thursday the 3 December the volunteer crew of Aberystwyth lifeboat were paged to assist a 15m long trawler that had become grounded on rocks
As the RNLI crew made their way to the boathouse they were surprised to see a 100 tonne, 15m beam scalloping trawler rolling around on the rocks directly outside the lifeboat station.
With bad weather due, the scalloper had decided to make its way into Aberystwyth harbour. Once past the breakwater at the harbour entrance the vessel’s engine died and was quickly pushed onto the rocks, known locally as the trap. Once the engines were restarted the boat was spun around further onto the rocks and the crew asked HM Coastguard for lifeboat assistance.
With no time to spare, the volunteer crew fully aware of the situation developing, quickly launched the stations Atlantic 85 lifeboat Spirit of Friendship which was on scene almost immediately. With the breaking surf and shallow water the lifeboat got as close as possible and was able to throw a tow line to the rear of the casualty. The crew then headed out to sea to hold the boat and prevent it being pushed further across the rocks and onto the beach and sea defense wall.
The volunteer crew worked hard to support the casualty vessel, which as it was rolling around in the breaking sea could be heard banging on the rocks. New Quay all-weather lifeboat was requested to assist. Whilst New Quay lifeboat was on route to Aberystwyth and with the help of the rising tide, the crew onboard the Atlantic 85 were able to slowly move the casualty off the rocks and into safer waters, where the casualty was able to restart her engines and enter the harbour under her own steam.
Aberystwyth lifeboat escorted the casualty into the harbour. All casualties on board the trawler were fine and the boat was not taking on any water.
Aberystwyth volunteer helm Bryn Harrison said: ‘The large fishing boat was a lot to take in these conditions, but I had no doubt in Spirit of Friendship, and she proved what great capability the Atlantic 85 has as we held the fishing boat off the rocks. Great teamwork and skill from all on board both vessels resulted in a happy ending’.
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.
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