Poole Lifeboat was tasked by UK Coastguard at just before 5pm (Wednesday April 14) to a vessel pinned against the Sandbanks Chain Ferry.
The Sandbanks Chain Ferry had broken down earlier in the afternoon and with passengers still on-board a local experienced skipper offered to help take the people off. He carefully laid his vessel alongside the chain ferry to evacuate passengers off the ferry.
Conditions in the harbour were clear and calm, with a south westerly force 1 breeze, however there was a strong ebb tide when the lifeboat arrived.
The vessel had gone smoothly alongside, and passengers began to disembark, meanwhile the Chain Ferry had managed to overcome its problem and it was decided that the passengers should return onto the Chain Ferry to resume their journey. As this was happening the tide turned and the good Samaritan vessel, found itself pinned against the Chain Ferry and low tide was not until some two hours later.
As this was unfolding the UK coastguard launched Poole lifeboat and Swanage Lifeboat Station as at that stage there may have been passengers on-board and with the changing conditions, there was also concern that the stricken vessel was listing and could get damaged and take on water with the force of the tide.
Poole Lifeboat arrived on scene and found that there was three people on-board the stricken vessel, who were the skipper and crew and they were safe and not in any imminent danger at that time. Swanage lifeboat arrived on scene and it was decided that Poole Lifeboat transferred a crew member safely onto the ferry, on the down tide side, who then in turn got onto the casualty vessel enabling clear communications.
A towline was passed by Swanage Lifeboat and they pulled the vessel clear, into safer water. After a check to see that the vessel was okay, they signalled that they were happy to continue the passage back to Poole.
The Chain Ferry continued and both lifeboats returned to station.
After refuelling and wash-down the lifeboat was ready for service by 7.30pm.
Volunteer Helm Dave Riley said: ‘It was just unfortunate today, conditions change so quickly, but all were safe and well and the Chain Ferry service resumed.
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