Dart and Torbay RNLI called to power boat on fire in Start Bay
On 10 August 2021 at 9.30am a powerboat caught fire due to a catastrophic engine failure whilst four miles off Slapton Sands in Start Bay.
Falmouth Coastguard tasked Dart RNLI to assess the condition of the crew, who chose to stay onboard the vessel, the fire having been put out by the engineer crew member using fire extinguishers.
The Dart B class inshore lifeboat launched to assess the situation. The volunteer crew decided a tow was the safest way to assist the casualties, and therefore towed the vessel to the nearest safe and suitable port, Dartmouth. An RNLI crew member was put onboard to supervise the tow.
The Coastguard also tasked the Torbay RNLI Severn class lifeboat to take over the tow as they approached Dartmouth Castle. The powerboat was taken by the all-weather lifeboat in an alongside tow and placed against the town pontoon in Dartmouth Harbour. Two members of the Dartmouth Fire Brigade went onboard to confirm that the fire was completely extinguished, and the crew members were medically assessed by paramedic. One casualty was transferred to hospital for further treatment.
The incident was RNLI volunteer Chris Rampling's first call out as a helm of the B class inshore lifeboat.
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.