Cave Rescue For Holyhead RNLI

Lifeboats News Release

A routine training exercise turned into a real rescue for Holyhead RNLI earlier today (Sunday 18 October), when three men on board a vessel became stuck in a local cave.

RNLI/Holly Owen

Holyhead RNLI volunteers attending Sunday's cave rescue

A sudden swell had spun the six-metre craft, a commercial, and swept her into the large cave near North Stack known as ‘Parliament Cave.' Her crew were unable to get out unaided due to the water affecting their engine, and they had called for help.

The UK Coastguard contacted the crew of the Severn-class all-weather lifeboat (ALB) Christopher Pearce,who were already out in the harbour, carrying out a rescue exercise, just after 11am, and requested they head immediately to the cave.

The inshore D-class lifeboat (ILB) Mary and Archie Hooper was then paged to assist at 11.15am, and launched quickly afterwards.

The station’s Y-boat, which is a daughter craft to the all-weather lifeboat, was prepared for launch, with two volunteer crewmen on board, and along with the ILB, headed into the cave to assess the situation.

Inside the cave, the lifeboat crews found the casualty craft hard on rocks at the rear, and the three sailors on the nearby beach area.

The casualties were immediately assessed, and on confirming they were all fit and well, an attempt was made by the ILB to tow their boat from the rocks, but to no avail. The ILB recovered the three men and took them to the waiting all-weather lifeboat.

Working together, all three lifeboats made a second attempt to tow the vessel from the rocks. A rope from the all-weather lifeboat was taken and, using the Y-boat and ILB, connected to the stricken craft. The all-weather lifeboat was then able to pull the boat from the rocks, and tow her out of the cave.

At first it was thought the vessel may have taken on water, but after an assessment it was deemed not to be so, and the larger lifeboat then towed her to the inner harbour, where her crew were placed back on board. The tow was then passed to the ILB crew, who brought her safely back to the sailing club groyne at Holyhead Marina.

Both lifeboats were back and prepared for service by 2.30pm

Duty Coxswain Gareth Owens said:

‘This was a working vessel, which had been tasked to recover a buoy, and all on board were experienced sailors with all the correct equipment and a means of calling for help, which was vital. In our unpredictable waters, anyone can get into difficulty.’

He added,

‘The incident today also shows how each of the station’s lifeboats play a different role during a call. All the volunteer crew worked brilliantly together to rescue the vessel and her occupants

For any further information, please contact Vicki Owens, Holyhead Lifeboat Press Officer, on 07531 681409 or email

RNLI/Holly Owen

RNLI/Holly Owen

The Y-class and D-class lifeboats race at the scene of Sunday's rescue

RNLI/Vicki Owens

Holyhead's D-class returning to station after Sunday's rescue

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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