First Lockdown Shout For Holyhead RNLI

Lifeboats News Release

Holyhead’s all-weather lifeboat was called out yesterday (Wednesday 27 May) afternoon to assist a fishing vessel drifting in the Irish Sea.

RNLI/Stephanie Fleming

A Holyhead crewman, complete with PPE, keeps a watchful eye on the casualty vessel

Pagers sounded just after 4.30pm, and the volunteer crew assembled at Holyhead port, where the RNLI Severn-class lifeboat Christopher Pearce is currently berthed.

The 15-metre trawler, a 125-ton deep steel scalloping vessel with three persons on board, was on her way back to Holyhead after three days at sea. She was situated 22 miles south-west of South Stack, and was drifting south at 2 knots every hour. A piece of rope debris had become caught in her propeller, causing her to lose power.

The lifeboat and her crew headed off to the location, and on arrival, after checking everyone was well on board, began to undertake a tow. Due to the weight of the casualty craft, the lifeboat made steady progress back to the port at a rate of 6 knots.

The call was the first for the crew during lockdown, and so was the first chance to test the new temporary launch and operational procedures, brought in to comply with Covid19 regulations. These include the crew assembling at the port before launch instead of at the lifeboat station; and the specific selection of crew to enable a full crew covering all roles to be left behind in case of a further shout. Volunteers are also using specific personal protection equipment (PPE) in addition to the usual RNLI equipment.

Coxswain Tony Price said:

‘The new launch procedure worked well. This is new territory for us all, and the crew had all been made fully aware prior to any calls of what is expected, in order for them to comply with the new regulations. They are there to keep ourselves and any casualties as safe as possible at this unprecedented time.’

He added:

‘Sea and weather conditions were excellent. The experienced fishermen were out at sea earning their living, providing food for our shelves and were unlucky to have issues. Their stock was not affected as they kept refrigeration throughout. As ever, our crew did their job brilliantly to provide a successful outcome.’

The lifeboat and casualty vessel returned safely back to Holyhead at 11pm. The fishing craft unloaded her day’s catch and the lifeboat was prepared for service by 11.40pm, and crew performed the necessary procedures to enable them to return safely home to their families.

For more information, please contact Vicki Owens, Holyhead Lifeboat Press Officer on 07531 681409 or email [email protected]

RNLI/Simon Price

Crew practiced social distancing throughout the call

RNLI/Simon Price

A crewman keeps watch as the lifeboat heads to the scene

Michael Thomas

Holyhead's Christopher Pearce towing the fishing vessel back to port

RNLI/Michael Thomas

The lifeboat returning to port on Wednesday evening

RNLI/Vicki Owens

The trawler was 22 miles south-west of South Stack

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

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