Engine failures result in two rescues in two days for RNLI Harwich Volunteers

Lifeboats News Release

Engine failures result in both of RNLI Harwich’s lifeboats being launched in less than 48 hours to the River Deben and River Orwell.


Library photo (pre Covid restrictions)

At 10.46pm Saturday 17 April the volunteers of RNLI Harwich were requested to launch their all-weather lifeboat Albert Brown by UK Coastguard. They were tasked to find and assist a 26ft motor boat with two people on board, with engine failure, north-east of the Woodbridge Haven Lighted Buoy, near the mouth of the River Deben.

Arriving on scene the conditions were good, and the vessel was slowly drifting southward on the tide. After a welfare check on the two occupants it was decided by the Harwich RNLI Coxswain, due to their position in the darkness continuing to drift without control, the safest thing to do was take the casualty vessel under tow to Shotley Point Marina.

On reaching Harwich Harbour, the tow was changed to an alongside tow, done by tying the casualty vessel to the side of the lifeboat, making it safer and easier to manoeuvre the casualty onto the pontoon at the marina entrance. Where the Holbrook Coastguard Rescue team, was awaiting their arrival.

RNLI Harwich’s all weather lifeboat was refuelled and ready for service at 1.30am on the Sunday morning.

At 4.50pm on Monday 19 April the volunteers were requested to launch their Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat Tierney, Harvey and Sonny Reid by UK Coastguard, to assist a 21ft fishing vessel with engine failure, anchored just inside the main channel at the entrance to the River Orwell, after commercial assistance couldn’t be found.

The anchor was recovered with the assistance of an RNLI volunteer, and an alongside tow was established to safely manoeuvre the fishing vessel the short distance to Ha’penny Pier. Once safely secured to the pier the lifeboat returned to station.

A station spokesperson said: ‘This weekend proved to be a busy one for our coastline, as the four neighbouring stations to the south were out on service too.’

‘With the relaxation of restrictions for holidaying in the UK we are expecting a perfect storm this summer of increased visitors, combined with a dramatic drop in donations due to Covid restrictions. Next month everyone can help keep summer safe, by getting involved with The Mayday Mile (themaydaymile.rnli.org), a fun way to power rescues of the future.’

RNLI media contacts

For more information please telephone Richard Wigley, RNLI volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer on 07903424698 or richard_wigley@rnli.org.uk or Clare Hopps, Regional Media Officer on 07824518641 or clare_hopps@rnli.org.uk or contact the RNLI Press Office on 01202 336789.

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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