Three back to back services ensures a busy Saturday afternoon for Harwich RNLI

Lifeboats News Release

It was a busy weekend for the Harwich RNLI volunteers and their Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat, launching three times to a variety of different incidents.

Harwich RNLI

The three incidents came one after the other on Saturday afternoon 12 June, starting just after 2pm when the volunteers were requested by HM Coastguard to assist an angling boat with three people on board, which had suffered power failure near the Cliff Foot Buoy, at the southern end of the harbour. Once on scene in the inshore lifeboat (ILB) volunteer crew quickly established a tow and took it, and occupants, back to the Suffolk Yacht Harbour on the River Orwell, its home port.

The second incident of the day came just after 4pm as the crew were washing down and refuelling the lifeboat from the previous service. This time it was to a person in the water looking exhausted and struggling to get back aboard their sailing dinghy, after being seen to capsize several times in Holbrook Bay by an onlooker from the shore. On arrival of the lifeboat, the sailor had managed to get back aboard their dinghy and was sailing safely back to shore. No assistance was needed.

The third incident like the second came as the crew were still on station washing down and refuelling the lifeboat. The crew hadn’t even removed their dry suits when they were immediately relaunched. This time a Pan-Pan call (need urgent assistance but not in immediate danger) had been picked up by Harwich Vessel Traffic Services (VTS), made by a yacht aground in Holbrook Bay – just like an airport uses traffic control to track and guide planes safely to the runway, VTS assists the navigation of ships to their berths, and back out to sea.

Arriving on scene, a 12m yacht with three occupants was hard aground on a falling tide. A quick attempt was made to tow it into deeper water but was unsuccessful. With the water dropping away rapidly, it was decided to transfer a passenger from the casualty vessel to Shotley Marina, leaving two crew members on board in readiness for re-floating at the next high tide, which wasn’t until after midnight. After delivering the passenger safely to Shotley, the ILB returned to the boathouse for refuelling and wash down and the crew finally stood down at 7.15pm.

Harwich RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager, Peter Bull, added:

‘Whilst everyone is enjoying this amazing weather, the volunteers at Harwich have once again proven that they were willing to leave their families – 32 times already this year - to assist others in difficulty. This takes a very special type of person and at Harwich we are very lucky to have some amazing volunteers who are committed to assisting others, to which myself, and the public are truly grateful . Without these group of volunteers the outcomes of these callouts could be very different, and it is all achieved by grateful donations from the public, which without we would not be able to provide this valuable service.’

RNLI media contacts

For more information, please contact:

Richard Wigley, RNLI Harwich volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer on 07903424698 or,

Clare Hopps, Regional Media Officer on 07824518641 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.

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