Broken down ketch brought to safety by Lytham St Annes RNLI
Lytham St Annes RNLI Lifeboat volunteers then assist a second boat
The Coastguard Operations Centre at Holyhead requested Lytham St Annes all-weather lifeboat (ALB) Barbara Anne launch to assess the situation for a 37 foot long (11.27m) ketch with five on board, including two young children, which had broken down off the mouth of the Ribble on Sunday 18 July 2021. With the light winds at the time, the vessel was unable to use her sails to enter the restricted channel and with machinery failure preventing her motoring to safety she was forced to anchor.
The Coastguard issued a Pan Pan radio alert call (which is one down in severity from a Mayday distress call) asking for any vessels in the area to assist but received no reply. As a result the Coastguard asked the sea charity’s lifeboat to investigate. The Barbara Anne was launched with Second Coxswain John Atkinson in command and found that the best way to resolve the situation was to tow the vessel to a safe mooring at Lytham due to the ketch’s inability to make her own way in and the two young children on board.
As the lifeboat and her charge neared Lytham the Station’s inshore lifeboat (ILB) MOAM was launched with Station Coxswain Tom Stuart in charge to assist with the final stages of the tow and to bring the ketch to a safe mooring in the strong ebb tide then flowing and the restricted space. When this was achieved the Barbara Anne was released to return to her boathouse but the MOAM was then tasked by the Coastguard to assist a speedboat which had set off a red flare while aground on the south side of the channel.
The ILB found the boat with two people on board had broken down before running aground and the best option available was to tow the vessel to safety at the Douglas Boatyard at Hesketh Bank as the casualty had no food or drink or means of propulsion.
The all-weather lifeboat Barbara Anne returned to her boathouse and was refuelled, checked and washed down before her volunteer crew and shore crew could leave for their homes at 11.55pm. The inshore lifeboat MOAM meanwhile returned to her boathouse at ten minutes past midnight (19 July) but again, as with the ALB, had to be washed down, refuelled, and checked over to ensure she was ready for her next call out to assist people in danger at sea. Her volunteer Crew and Shore Crew could then leave for their homes at 1.00am (19 July) after two successful services.
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.