RNLI Weston-super-Mare Volunteers rescue two people from broken down motorboat
On Saturday 10th July, both of the Weston-super-Mare RNLI lifeboats were requested to launch on service by HM Coastguard, following a request for help from a small motorboat over VHF radio. This was the 26th shout for the Weston Lifeboat volunteers in 2021.
Unsure of his location, and potentially drifting dangerously close to the shipping lane, without power and after losing his anchor, the skipper made the right call by contacting the Coastguard to request assistance on channel 16 at 18:55hrs.
The D class lifeboat, 'Adrian Beaumont', and the Atlantic 75 lifeboat, 'Joan Bate', were both launched at 19:05hrs, following the distress call.
The initial search location was given by the skipper as between Steep Holm and Flat Holm Islands. However, after over an hour of searching with nothing found, it was evident that this location was not correct. The search area was expanded to take into account updated information from the Coastguard and tidal data analysis, along with additional details from the skipper via mobile phone.
Once the casualty vessel, with 2 people on board was located at 20:15hrs, checks were made to ensure there were no injuries, before a tow line was passed to the skipper. He advised that the boat's engine had failed and the auxiliary motor could not be started. Unfortunately, after anchoring to hold his position, the anchor line became snagged and broke, leaving the vessel drifting on the tide further up the channel than the skipper had realised.
With the tow line secured, the process of bringing the casualty vessel back to Knightstone Harbour commenced, returning to the harbour at 22:10hrs.
The RNLI volunteers assisted the skipper ashore and helped put his boat back onto his trailer to be taken away for repairs.
Weston-Super-Mare Coastguard Rescue Team met the skipper at Knightstone to review the incident and issue some safety advice along with the RNLI Deputy Launching Authority who approved the launch of the lifeboats.
RNLI advice whenever going afloat is the following;
1. Always carry a means of communicating to the emergency services, preferably in a waterproof pouch. A VHF radio ideally, or a mobile phone if close to shore, as reception on the water cannot be assumed on the mobile network.
2. Always have enough lifejackets for all persons on board.
3. Carry distress flares - these can help you be seen when being searched for.
4. Always know your position and have a means of navigating.
5. Test all equipment before putting to sea, especially if you are unfamiliar with their operation.
Phone apps like 'what3words' can be downloaded and can pinpoint your exact location. This can be extremely beneficial for emergency services to get to your location quickly if you require help.
Cai Budd, Deputy Launching Authority for RNLI Weston-super-Mare said, “ This was a positive outcome for all involved with some lessons that can be shared for anyone venturing afloat. RNLI safety advice saves lives, and we encourage anyone venturing onto the water to follow the guidance given to help you stay safe”.
The skipper thanked the volunteers for their help and said that he had learnt some valuable lessons from his day out on the water.
Both lifeboats were washed, refuelled and made ready for service by 23:00hrs.
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.