A busy long weekend with multiple incidents for Harwich RNLI volunteers

Lifeboats News Release

Lifeboat volunteers from Harwich RNLI spent more than 10 hours afloat on service over the weekend, responding to a variety of incidents from paddle boarders caught in strong currents, to a yacht tangled in fishing lines.

RNLI/Leam Donn - Harwich RNLI crew member

The long weekend started at 9pm on Thursday 15 July, when the crew of the Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat – Tierney, Harvey and Sonny Reid – assisted a 9m yacht into Shotley Marina, and ended 9am Monday 19 July, when the Severn class all-weather lifeboat – Albert Brown – returned from service to a suspected boat fire off Felixstowe. The crew members spending more than 10 hours afloat on service during this 84-hour period.

The second vessel of the weekend to be assisted was a stricken 8m power boat

one mile south of Stone Pier, Harwich, with two people on-board. Arriving on scene just before 2pm on Saturday 17 July, an assessment was carried out,and it was deemed that the safest option was to take the power boat under tow to Shotley Marina. The two occupants could then be assisted with their boat by the Holbrook Coastguard Rescue Team.

The third vessel to be assisted came at 4pm Sunday 18 July, after a Pan Pan call – need help, but in no immediate danger – had been made by a 9m yacht with four people on-board. They had become entangled in fishing lines, approximately one mile from Cobbolds Point, Felixstowe. The only way to free the yacht was to sweep the line underneath the yacht and cut it. As the Line was still tightly wrapped around the propeller and rudder, the safest option was to tow the yacht to Shotley Marina. The yacht and its crew were passed to the care of the Holbrook Coastguard Rescue Team.

Not long after the volunteer crew members had made it back to their homes, the pagers sounded again at 8:45pm, This time to reports of a kayak struggling in the strong tidal flow off Felixstowe Ferry golf course, after UK Coastguard had received multiple 999 calls stating the two occupants had been spotted waving their paddles for attention. Arriving on scene, the inshore lifeboat crew discovered it was two paddle boarders, who were relieved to be brought aboard the lifeboat, which returned them safely to the shore.

It was 10pm when the crew were finally able to close the doors on a busy weekend, only to be awoken by their pagers once again at 7.24am on Monday 19 July, after multiple 999 calls had been made regarding a boat engulfed in smoke, and possibly on fire, one mile offshore between Felixstowe Pier and the entrance to the River Deben. The all-weather lifeboat – Albert Brown - made best possible speed to the scene, but found nothing. They checked on all vessels seen in the area, but none needed assistance.

A vessel matching the description given was spotted entering Levington Marina, which the Felixstowe Coastguard Rescue Team went to investigate. The vessel’s crew said they had blown an injector whilst off Felixstowe which did cause a lot of smoke, but they had it under control and were in no difficulty.

The all-weather lifeboat was able to return to station, and was ready for service again by 9am.

Antony Charles, a trainee helm who attended most of the weekend’s launches said:

‘This has been one of the busiest weekends I can remember for a long time, but has been a great experience in my development towards becoming a helm. I had thought my recent command training course in April, at the RNLI college in Poole had been intense, but nothing beats real world experience, especially the yacht tangled in the lobster pots. Which is something I have not come across before.’

Harwich Lifeboat Operations Manager, Peter Bull, said: ‘I am proud of how the volunteers of Harwich RNLI have come together over these busy few days,and also thank their families for their understanding and support.

‘I feel this weekend could be a prelude to the predicted increase in demand for our help over the summer months, but there are simple things we can all do to limit call outs, and keep ourselves safe, like; ensure your vessel is properly maintained, and fuel replaced if it’s been in storage, check tide times, take a means of calling for help, wear a lifejacket, and don’t go alone.

‘Let’s all make this summer a safer one together.’

For more tips and advice on keeping safe this summer, visit rnli.org

RNLI media contacts

For more information, please contact:

Richard Wigley, RNLI Harwich volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer on 07903424698 or [email protected],

Clare Hopps, Regional Media Officer on 07824518641or [email protected] or contact the RNLI Press Office on 01202 336789.

RNLI/Peter Bull - Harwich RNLI LOM

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.

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