Harwich RNLI’s 61st service sparked by stranded yacht in busy shipping lane

Lifeboats News Release

Lifeboat volunteers from Harwich RNLI launched to assist 16m yacht having difficulty in a busy shipping lane 14 miles east of Walton-on-the-Naze.

RNLI/ Peter Bull

Harwich Severn Class lifeboat escorting yacht to safety

Just after 8am on Wednesday 28 July, the lifeboat volunteers were requested by UK Coastguard, via their pagers, to launch for the 61st time this year.

A 16m yacht was in difficulty near the Sunk Inner Light Vessel, after reportedly fouling its keel, propeller, and possibly its rudder, hampering its manoeuvrability in a major shipping lane some 14 miles east of Walton Pier.

Harwich RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat – Albert Brown – was launched onto a slight sea, with six crew members aboard, making best speed to the last reported position, which took 50 minutes.

Arriving on scene and assessing the situation, the yacht’s skipper was asked to perform some manoeuvres while being observed by the lifeboat’s Coxswain. It was deemed the safest option was for the yacht to make its own way into harbour under sail, escorted by the Harwich lifeboat.

They were met at the entrance to Levington Marina, on the River Orwell, at 11:55am by a workboat, which assisted the yacht and its four occupants into the marina - met by the Felixstowe Coastguard Rescue Team - where the yacht could be properly assessed and necessary repairs carried out.

The Albert Brown and its volunteer crew proceeded back to station, where it was refuelled and ready for service by 1pm.

Harwich RNLI has seen a large increase in demand for help from all types of vessels over the last few weeks, and their Lifeboat Operations Manager, Peter Bull, had a request for anyone taking to the water:

‘I like most others, am excited to have near normality return after so long, but please, in our rush to get back on the water, don’t forget the basics. Make sure your vessel is sea worthy, serviced and with fresh fuel on board. You also need to have a means of calling for help and navigating safely, and remember a lifejacket is useless unless worn.

‘If you get into trouble while in the water, Float to Live – fight your instincts to thrash around, lean back extending your arms and legs (star position), gently moving your arms and legs can help, this will keep your airways clear, and allow time for help to arrive.’

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

RNLI Media contacts

For more information please contact Richard Wigley, RNLI Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer: richard_wigley@rnli.org.uk


Harwich’s all-weather lifeboat - Albert Brown underway

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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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