RNLI Hoylake volunteers assist a yacht in distress in the River Mersey
The RNLI lifeboat was requested to launch by the UK Coastguard at 2.24pm on Wednesday 26 May to a vessel with three people on board that had run aground at the lock entrance to Brunswick Dock in Liverpool.
The yacht had been heading to Liverpool Marina and was reported to be aground on the sill of the lock and listing against the lock wall as the tide went out. Crosby Coastguard Rescue Team and Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service’s Marine Fire One were also tasked.
Hoylake RNLI’s Shannon class lifeboat Edmund Hawthorn Micklewood and her volunteer crew launched and headed to the River Mersey. Marine Fire One had reached the vessel and taken its three crew on board before liaising with Hoylake Lifeboat and confirming that the casualties would be landed ashore at Liverpool Pier Head.
The Coastguard Operation Centre at Holyhead then asked Hoylake Lifeboat to provide an update on the yacht’s condition. The lifeboat headed to the Brunswick Dock entrance and informed the Coastguard that the vessel was now firmly aground and listing heavily.
With the tide not due to reach the yacht again until later that evening, it was agreed with the Coastguard Operations Centre that Hoylake Lifeboat and her crew would proceed to the Pier Head and remain on standby until the yacht began to float again.
At 7.15pm, the lifeboat headed back to the dock entrance as the tide flooded back in so the crew could assess the yacht’s condition, report any pollution issues and ensure the safety of anyone attempting to board the vessel.
Meanwhile at 8.45pm, Hoylake RNLI hovercraft was requested to launch to two people reportedly cut off by the tide with a broken down quad bike on Moreton shore. While the hovercraft was preparing to launch, it was confirmed that the casualties had managed to wade ashore safely and the hovercraft was stood down.
On scene at the dock entrance, it was clear after 2 hours that the yacht had refloated safely, so the marina arranged with the crew for another vessel to tow the yacht into the lock. Hoylake Lifeboat was stood down by the Coastguard at 9.11pm and returned to the lifeboat station.
Hoylake RNLI Coxswain Andy Dodd said: ‘Ensuring the safety of the yacht’s crew was a priority during this long service and we’re pleased that their boat was able to be refloat again after a lengthy period aground in a challenging location. Working alongside our Marine Fire One and coastguard colleagues, our RNLI volunteers were able to ensure this incident was brought to a safe conclusion.’
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 over 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and, in a normal year, 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.