The RNLI lifeboats from Douglas, Port Erin, and Peel were called out yesterday (11 November) to two separate incidents, one either side of the Island, in deteriorating weather conditions with winds at force 7, gusting to 8, amid swells of 2 to 2.5 metres.
The Douglas all-weather lifeboat, Marine Engineer, under the command of volunteer coxswain, Edd Christian, launched at 1.58pm at the request of the Coastguard to go to the aid of a fishing boat that had suffered an engine fire. The two crew on the 16m fishing boat had advised the Coastguard that they had been able to extinguish a fire in their engine but were now immobile approximately five miles south east of Douglas and required assistance.
Heading for the last reported position of the fishing vessel by the time Douglas lifeboat located the casualty vessel it had actually drifted a considerable distance north driven by the strong winds and the tide. Having first ensured that both crewmen on board were not in need of any immediate assistance the fishing boat was taken under tow back to a berth on the King Edward Pier. Towing the 16m vessel against the strong wind, and the tide, made for a long trip back to Douglas. Coxswain, Edd Christian, described the conditions as ‘Challenging’.
With the fishing vessel left in the care of the Coastguard, and with the Douglas Fire Brigade on hand to check for any hot spots remaining in the vessel’s engine room, the lifeboat returned to station to be recovered into the boathouse, washed down and refueled and was made ready again for service by 5.30pm.
On the other side of the Island Port Erin’s inshore lifeboat crew were paged at 3:09pm. Port Erin Coastguard reported a kite surfer being blown out to sea off Fleshwick bay. Helmsman Matty Preston took the Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat
Martin Fredrick Whithouse with a volunteer crew into the deteriorating weather conditions to begin a search along the coast going north past Niarbyl. With daylight fading, Peel's all-weather lifeboat was called out around 4.30 pm to assist with the search along with HM Coastguard Helicopter Rescue 936 from Caernarfon.
In what was the first shout for Peel’s RNLI lifeboat since going into service, the first Shannon all-weather lifeboat to be stationed in the Isle of Man, the
Frank and Brenda Winter joined Port Erin lifeboat in the task.
Under the command of Coxswain Jon Corlett, the volunteer crew set out into less than ideal conditions. Jon explained: ‘Port Erin’s inshore lifeboat searched along the coast, while we were some distance further out, heading south and working a search pattern with three crew members on the searchlights.’
With Peel’s lifeboat and the Coastguard helicopter on scene, due to the continuing deterioration of the sea conditions, increasing lack of visibility, and at the upper end of weather limits for their Atlantic 85, the helmsman decided to take the Port Erin inshore lifeboat and its volunteer crew back to the station where the lifeboat was rehoused and was made ready again for service by 6.20pm.
Subsequently the Peel lifeboat was stood down by Belfast Coastguard when it became clear that no kite surfer had been reported missing but that a yacht had been seen in the area around the time of the sighting.
Peel’s coxswain added: ‘Our crew responded with professional calm in their first shout aboard our new Shannon. Their training over the past few months, both afloat and ashore, was certainly tested in this evening’s conditions. We are all pleased that this potential incident did not have a tragic outcome.’
The possible sighting turned out to be a yacht. It was a false alarm with good intent. We wish to thank the passer-by for raising their concerns, and if you ever see anyone in difficulty, please call 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.
Notes to editors
Caption for attached photo1: Casualty vessel under tow by Douglas all-weather lifeboat
Credit: RNLI/Michael Howland
Caption for attached photo2: Port Erin’s inshore lifeboat
Caption for attached photo3: Peel’s all-weather lifeboat leaving port for the search area.
Credit: RNLI/Carol Hunter
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For more information please contact Michael Howland, RNLI Douglas Lifeboat Press Officer on 07624 496029 or email firstname.lastname@example.org, or Callum Qualtrough, RNLI Port Erin Lifeboat Press Officer on 07624 429500 or email email@example.com or Carol Hunter MCIPR, RNLI Peel Lifeboat Press Officer on 07624461213 or email firstname.lastname@example.org, or Danielle Rush, Divisional Media Relations Manager (Wales and West) on 07786 668829 or 01745 585162. Alternatively contact RNLI Public Relations on 01202 336789.
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