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St Bees RNLI volunteers respond to a Pan Pan VHF radio call for help.

Lifeboats News Release

On Wednesday 16 June the volunteers at St Bees RNLI were tasked by Belfast Coastguard to go to the assistance of a 30 foot yacht that had sent out a Pan Pan call for assistance.

St Bees lifeboat coming alongside the stricken yacht

RNLI/Colin Wadey

Approaching the stricken yacht

At 10 am on 6 June the volunteer crew at St Bees were paged to go to a sailing boat five miles west of Whitehaven. The skipper of the yacht put out the call for help after they appeared to suffer engine failure and loss of steering.

The lifeboat crew, after receiving accurate co-ordinates from the Coastguard, quickly located the vessel in poor visibility. As they were coming alongside the yacht they noticed that the anchor had come dislodged. A member of the lifeboat crew went aboard the yacht to help recover the anchor which unknown to the yacht's skipper had broken loose from its fixings and was dragging along the sea bed. This was creating the feeling of loss of power and steering. The anchor was safely pulled back aboard the yacht and secured. Power and steering was now fully restored and the RNLI volunteers were then happy for the yacht to continue its voyage to Scotland.

Dick Beddows St Bees RNLI Operations Manager said ‘The skipper of the yacht did exactly the right thing as soon as he realised there was a problem with his boat he put out a call for help’.

St Bees lifeboat coming alongside the stricken yacht

RNLI/Colin Wadey

Approaching the stricken yacht

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.

Learn more about the RNLI

For more information please visit the RNLI website or Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. News releases, videos and photos are available on the News Centre.

Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

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