RNLI Rye Harbour on hand with a tow in Rye Bay

Lifeboats News Release

At 10.06 on the morning of 14 May Rye Harbour volunteers responded to a Coastguard request for deployment to aid the sixteen-foot cabin-cruiser Neva Pearl

In the foreground the lifeboat Hello Herbie II and in its foamy wake the cabin cruiser Neva Pearl under tow

RNLI/Tim Brown

Neva Pearl under tow

She was stranded some eight miles offshore in Rye Bay having suffered engine failure. Two people were reported to be aboard but there were no casualties. The situation was carefully assessed and it was decided to wait until the incoming tide for a launch of the station’s Atlantic 85 lifeboat Hello Herbie II direct from the Harbour, rather than the more time-consuming low water launch from the beach.

In calm but choppy seas Neva Pearl was soon reached: she was well-equipped and her crew well-prepared for their fishing expedition. The cruiser was at anchor and by means of a chart plotter the exact position of the vessel was relayed to the lifeboat crew, removing the need for what could have been a lengthy and difficult search in the Bay. Both the main and auxiliary engines had failed, the one from fuel and the other from drive transmission problems. Stuart Clark, lifeboat Helm, decided to put a crew-member, Matt Ellis, aboard Neva Pearl during the tow and within forty-five minutes both vessels were safely at rest in Rye Harbour.

Matt commented: 'This was a good example of how even a well-prepared trip to sea can go wrong; what are the chances of both engines failing? Those on the cabin-cruiser did absolutely the right thing in calmly calling for help and their ability to anchor and give an exact position made our job much more straightforward. Our push to continue as much training as possible over the past year of Covid restrictions has certainly paid off in our drive to save lives at sea.'

The Neva Pearl alongside the lifeboat as the tow is prepared

RNLI/Lucy Green

Establishing the tow with a crew member on board the Neva Pearl
The Neva Pearl and lifeboat next to each other alongside the Harbour quay on their return

RNLI/Martin Bruce

The Neva Pearl and hello Herbie II safe in Rye Harbour

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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