Three people rescued in dangerous conditions by the Hayling Island lifeboat

Lifeboats News Release

A small yacht ran aground off the West Wittering beach and the crew got ashore, but later that day when the crew returned to try to reach deeper water the wind and waves made conditions impossible for them to cope and so they called for help.

Photo of the Hayling Island RNLI Atlantic 85 lifeboat towing the yacht back into calmer waters.

Hayling Island RNLI

The Hayling Island RNLI Atlantic 85 lifeboat tows the yacht back into calmer waters.

On Sunday morning (28 June) at 09:10am a member of the public made a 999 call having seen a small yacht in shallow water and breaking waves close inshore to West Wittering Beach. HM Coastguard requested we launch to assist and the Atlantic 85 was launched and made its way to the casualty in choppy seas and a SW F5/6 wind.

Arriving at the boat the Coastguard informed us that the three crew members had made it ashore. It was agreed that the Selsey Coastguard Rescue team would lay an anchor when the tide conditions allowed this. The lifeboat returned to the station.

At 2.30pm that afternoon the Coastguard requested the lifeboat launched to go to the assistance of the same boat as the three crew had gone back on board to try and take the boat into deeper water. They had however realised that they could not cope with the wind and waves and so asked to be taken off.

Both Hayling RNLI Lifeboats were launched and made passage to the casualty. The D-Class lifeboat arrived first and put a crewman on board who assessed the conditions and it was agreed that it was too rough to transfer the crew who had no life jackets or safety equipment on board.

The lifeboat crew provided them with life jackets and when the Atlantic 85 arrived they established a tow,(pictured in the rough seas) took the yacht and crew into deeper water and then round the sandbanks and into Chichester Harbour. The smaller D-Class lifeboat returned to the station.

Once in the harbour the plan had been to take the yacht to Sparkes Marina but the skipper decided, since he had a functional engine, to motor to his mooring at Wilsons Boatyard. The Atlantic 85 escorted them and made sure they were moored safely. The three crew transferred to their tender but found they were out of fuel.

So the lifeboat established an alongside tow and took them to Wilsons pontoon where they were me by the Hayling Coastguard team. This chapter of incidents ended well but we urge all boat users to wear life jackets at all times and to be aware of the wind strength and potential wave action especially locally at the entrance to Chichester Harbour.

RNLI media contacts

  • For more information please telephone Alan Bartlett, Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer, on 02392 463441 or 07749061220 or email pressofficer@haylinglifeboats.org.uk
  • Alternatively contact Paul Dunt RNLI Regional Media Officer (South East) 02076 207416, 07785 296252 or e mail paul_dunt@rnli.org.uk
  • For enquiries outside normal business hours, contact the RNLI duty press officer on 01202 336789

RNLI online For more information on the RNLI please visit www.rnli.org.uk News releases and other media resources, including RSS feeds, downloadable photos and video, are available at the RNLI Press Centre www.rnli.org.uk/press


Photo of the Hayling Island Atlantic 85 lifeboat alongside the yacht in rough conditions.

Hayling Island RNLI

The Hayling Island Atlantic 85 lifeboat alongside the yacht in rough conditions.

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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