RNLI lifeboat stations work together to rescue yacht off North Norfolk Coast

Lifeboats News Release

At 6.35am on Sunday 4 July, HM Coastguard paged Wells all-weather lifeboat to assist the rescue of a 22-foot bilge keel yacht taking on water whilst on passage from Boston to Wells-next-the-Sea.

RNLI/Paul Tibbs Photography

RNLI inshore lifeboat and crew

The crew of three onboard the yacht put out a Mayday call, to which Hunstanton lifeboat was immediately tasked. The volunteer crew managed to plug the leak and pump the yacht dry before taking the casualty in tow. The intention was to transfer the tow to Wells all-weather lifeboat to bring the yacht into Wells harbour on the afternoon tide.

The decision was made to launch the Wells D-class inshore lifeboat instead of undertaking a low-water launch of the all-weather vessel, as Hunstanton lifeboat was making good progress in the calm conditions and was comfortable to tow the boat to Wells Fairway.

Wells inshore lifeboat launched outside the boathouse on the last of the ebbing tide at 7.35am and rendezvoused with the Hunstanton lifeboat and casualty vessel at 7.55am. They then proceeded to a safe anchorage in Holkham Bay.

At 8.16am, with the yacht safely at anchor and the crew all well, both Hunstanton and Wells lifeboats left the scene and proceeded back to their respective home stations. The intention being for Wells inshore lifeboat to tow the yacht into Wells on the flood tide shortly after midday.

The inshore lifeboat was ashore at 8.35am, rehoused, sanitised and refuelled at 9am.

The Crew mustered again at 11.30am and the inshore lifeboat launched on the first of the tide outside the boathouse at 12.20pm. They arrived on scene in Holkham bay at 12.30pm. The tow was rigged and they commenced the passage back to the Wells town pontoons at 12.35pm.

The inshore lifeboat made good progress and shortened up the tow once in Wells Harbour. With the yacht safely moored at the Quay by 1.19pm, the inshore lifeboat returned to the station and was ashore at 1.25pm.

The lifeboat was rehoused, sanitised, refuelled and ready for service again at 2pm.

The Lifeboat Operations Manager, Chris Hardy, said ‘it is always good to see stations working together effectively and with flexibility, to bring a successful conclusion to an incident.’


RNLI media contacts

For more information please telephone Justine Sykes, RNLI volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer on 07710510516 or juscsykes@gmail.com or Clare Hopps, Regional Media Officer on 07824 518641 or 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.

Learn more about the RNLI

For more information please visit the RNLI website or Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. News releases, videos and photos are available on the News Centre.

Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or by email.