Multiple Mayday calls and a floating island keep Poole volunteers busy

Lifeboats News Release

Both boats were launched by UK Coastguard at 1.30pm to a ’Mayday’ as a 6m vessel with 4 people on-board was taking on water just off Sandbanks.

The lifeboat crew swiftly launched, donning PPE and made their way through the busy harbour and found the speedboat with a water ingress. One crew was transferred across with a salvage pump and began pumping the water out. At the same time another vessel close by in the surf line shouted for help, so the lifeboat Helm requested that the D Class launch to assist. The crewman with the salvage pump continued pumping the water from the stricken vessel, as the Atlantic went across to the other vessel calling for help.

The Atlantic pulled the vessel, a dory with an outboard on, clear from the surf and put them ‘at anchor’, secure for the D Class to assist, who were on route.

The lifeboat then returned to the speedboat and took it undertow urgently, as water was still coming in fast, back to Cobbs Quay, pumping and bailing out water all the way, the Coastguard called ahead to Cobbs to arrange an emergency immediate lift out on arrival and Poole volunteer Search and Rescue Coastguards were on hand. The salvage pump and crewman returned to the lifeboat as the vessel was lifted out and made safe.

Meanwhile, the D Class had arrived off Sandbanks to pick up the broken down Dory that was at anchor, they had it under tow and were heading into the Harbour when the Coastguard redeployed them to go to a sinking jet ski in Studland Bay, the D Class secured the Dory to a mooring at North Haven.

The D class was tasked to a jet ski with two people on board reported to be taking on water at South Beach, on arrival the lifeboat crew checked that the jet skiers were okay and took the jet ski ashore to Knoll beach and left one person with it. The other they took back to Baiter Slipway so he could retrieve his vehicle. Then, the D Class was asked to go and help the Atlantic.

The Coastguard requested the Atlantic departing Cobbs Quay to go and pick up the tow, which they did but almost immediately they had to drop the Dory off on a secure buoy as the lifeboat was re-tasked to ‘floating inflatable island’ with 4 adults and 4 children onboard that were perilously drifting in the main channel near the Bell buoy

The main channel is like the A31 of Poole harbour, the main route for all shipping and vessels, a constant flow in and out of the harbour and a very dangerous place to be on an inflatable, if they had capsized or ended up under a large vessel it would have been a very different story.

The Atlantic helped by the D Class distributed the people into the lifeboats and towed the inflatable back to the beach near to Royal Motors, Poole Coastguard rescue team were on the shore to meet them with some safety messages to share.

The lifeboat returned to help the poor Dory, but they had managed to get a tow from a friend and were back to Cobbs, it just wasn’t their day.

Conditions in the harbour were good, clear skies and a westerly breeze 4-5.

The lifeboat crew wearily headed back, and the boats were made ready for service by 5.30pm but then like the previous day, the pagers rang out again and the lifeboat was requested to launch.

Just after 8pm the lifeboat launched after the UK Coastguard received another ‘Mayday’ as a 17ft speedboat was sinking in Poole harbour.

The lifeboat crew were soon on scene, just off Stakes Buoy, and a passing vessel who had raised the alarm, had recovered the people from the water. The casualties were transferred across onto the lifeboat and they were none the worse for their ordeal, their boat however was underwater, with just the bow showing. The lifeboat took the semi submerged boat undertow across to Baiter Slipway.

The casualties were landed ashore and the crew helped to bail out the water and put the boat on its trailer. When all was safe and secure, the lifeboat returned to station, after additional cleaning and sanitising regimes that the lifeboat crew need to adhere to now, extra protection when working near casualties.

Volunteer Helm Alex Evans said;

‘It has been an extremely busy few days for the volunteers, with the weather set fair for the next few days and easing of the lockdown we would ask anyone heading out on the water or to the beach to please follow the RNLI safety advice
Have a plan - check the weather forecast, tide times and read local hazard signage
Keep a close eye on your family – on the beach and in the water
Don’t allow your family to swim alone Wear a lifejacket or buoyancy aid Have a means to call for help
Don’t use inflatables
If you fall into the water unexpectedly, FLOAT TO LIVE. Fight your instinct to thrash around, lean back, extend your arms and legs, and Float

And there will be occasions when things don’t go to plan and you will need help, or you may see someone that’s in difficulty - dial 999 and ask for the Coastguard’.


Poole volunteers assisting the capsized speedboat



Poole lifeboat tows the second vessel through the breaking surf


Poole volunteers recovering the capsized speedboat

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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