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Wells RNLI volunteers aid fishing vessel in difficulty

Lifeboats News Release

Wells all-weather lifeboat was paged at 7:45am yesterday (Monday 7 December) by Humber Coastguard to assist an 11 metre fishing boat from Lowestoft with one person onboard which had rudder failure and had run aground on the sand banks North of Stiffkey.

The charity’s lifeboat launched at 8:10am on the first of the incoming flood tide outside the boathouse and proceeded along the main harbour channel and East towards Blakeney Harbour.

The visibility was poor and the lifeboat located the casualty vessel visually at 8:30am and closed to assess the situation. At 08:36am a tow line was passed to the fishing vessel and the lifeboat attempted to pull the vessel clear of the sandbank. Initially attempts to refloat the fishing vessel proved unsuccessful given the size and weight of the vessel (estimated 40 tonnes) and the fact that she was bow first hard aground up the beach.

The coxswain and crew used their seamanship skills to good effect and decided to anchor the lifeboat up tide and then take the strain on the tow and gradually pull the fishing vessel off the sand as the onshore swells and rising tide lifted her.

The casualty was successfully re floated at 10:36am and the lifeboat then heaved up her anchor and reconnected the tow at the fishing vessels bow and once all fast, the tow commenced back towards Wells Harbour at 11:02am.

The intention was to berth the fishing vessel in the Outer Harbour where repairs could be undertaken. However, the skipper had on the passage towards Wells, been able to carry out a temporary repair and reweld the broken steering yoke to enable the craft to regain full steerage.

The lifeboat once off Wells Harbour at 11:57am, disconnected the tow and stood by whilst the casualty vessel undertook sea trials and once it was ascertained that all was in order and the trials were successfully completed, the fishing vessel set course for its home port of Lowestoft.

The lifeboat then proceeded inwards to Wells Harbour and was ashore at 12:20pm and sanitised, rehoused and refuelled at 1:30pm.

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.

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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.