Disabled Vessel Towed to Safety by the RNLI
Lytham St Annes all-weather lifeboat Barbara Anne tasked to rescue yacht.
The Coastguard Operations Centre (Holyhead) requested the lifeboat launch to assist a 9 metre (30 feet) yacht with two people on board at 7.24pm on Thursday 29 April 2021.
The volunteer lifeboat crew assembled and set out in the Shannon class all-weather lifeboat (ALB) with 2nd Coxswain John Atkinson in command to find the disabled vessel. A general cargo ship, the Silver River, was standing by close to the yacht in case further difficulties arose. The lifeboat came up with the yacht 13 nautical miles from the lifeboat station, nine nautical miles west of Anchorsholme, an hour after leaving her boathouse and, after making sure the casualty’s two crew were alright, passed a tow line across before heading northwards with the vessel towards Barrow-in-Furness.
The yacht had been on passage from Barrow to Fleetwood when she became disabled. The intention by the lifeboat was to tow her and place her on the Barrow Lifeboat Station’s mooring at Roa Island and so the Barrow lifeboat Grace Dixon launched to intercept the Lytham lifeboat and take over the tow as they both reached the edge of the Barrow lifeboat’s area. This transfer was successfully achieved thanks to the skill and co-operation between the two volunteer crews who had recently carried out a joint towing exercise between the two boats. As soon as the tow had been passed over the Lytham lifeboat was free to return home while the Barrow lifeboat returned to her station with the yacht.
The Barbara Anne arrived back at her boathouse about midnight to be washed off, refuelled and checked over before the lifeboat crew and shore crew could return to their homes around 1am (30). It had been a necessary service as the yacht would not have made land without assistance and it showed the close cooperation between the charity’s lifeboat stations which protect the entire coast of the British Isles.
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 over 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and, in a normal year, 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.