RNLI Lytham St Annes rescue two aboard yacht in sea drama
Lytham St Annes RNLI Lifeboat Volunteers respond to report of yacht in trouble four miles out into the Irish Sea on Saturday (7th August)
The Holyhead Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre requested Lytham St Annes All-weather Lifeboat (ALB) launch to assess the situation for a 30 foot long (9.14m) yacht with two people on board in danger. The vessel’s engine had failed and her foresail was unable to be set in challenging conditions which were forcing the yacht ever closer to being wrecked on the sand banks at the mouth of the estuary.
The Station’s All-weather relief Lifeboat Reg (13-07), on duty while the Barbara Anne was away, was launched with Station Coxswain Tom Stuart in command, and found the casualty in wind conditions which varied between force 5 and 6, with gusts up to gale force 8. The confused sea conditions were on top of a 4 metre swell and with heavy rain driving at times almost horizontally, made the approach to the yacht difficult. The exhausted yacht crew were unable to connect a tow line and so the Lifeboat had to be brought alongside to allow lifeboat mechanic Chris Penrice to leap aboard. Chris then connected a tow line and the Lifeboat proceeded to bring the vessel into the safety of the Ribble.
With no safe mooring being available at Lytham in the poor conditions the two boats had to carry on upriver to the safety of Preston Dock. To assist the All-weather Lifeboat with the yacht in the final stages of the tow in the restricted area of Preston’s outer basin, the Station’s Inshore Lifeboat (ILB) was launched at 10.45pm with Helm Ben McGarry in command. The two Lifeboats safely moored the yacht up and after checking the two sailors were recovered sufficiently and happy to be left aboard their vessel, headed out down river to return to their respective boathouses.
The Volunteers were free to set off for their homes and bed around 3.45am (8th)
Richard Freeman, the Duty Launching Authority, later said, “It was an excellent service rescuing two people in very challenging weather conditions. The chances of them surviving had the yacht hit the sands were slight.”
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.