RNLI Wells inshore lifeboat recover RIB aground in fog and fading light

Lifeboats News Release

Wells inshore lifeboat was paged by HM Coastguard at 4.14pm on Saturday 9 October, to go to the assistance of four people in a rigid inflatable boat (RIB) which had run hard aground on the ebbing tide, in the approaches to Wells Harbour channel earlier in the day.

Inshore lifeboat and crew assist stranded RIB

RNLI/Ray West

RNLI Wells inshore lifeboat crew assist in bringing stranded RIB safely to the shore

It was hoped that the crew of the boat would be able to re-float the RIB on the incoming evening tide, but one of the boats sponsons had lost considerable pressure and was only partly inflated, raising concerns about the buoyancy of the craft on re-floating, particularly being out at sea with the onset of darkness and thick fog.

The Wells inshore lifeboat Peter Wilcox hitched up to the launch and recovery vehicle and proceeded along the beach to the foreshore where the boat was aground.

The inshore lifeboat crew launched at 4.38pm and on assessing the situation it was decided to take the four crew from the RIB back to the safety of the boathouse, and for the inshore lifeboat crew to recover the stranded boat on the imminent incoming tide.

The launch and recovery vehicle arrived back at the station at 5.10pm and the four crew from the RIB were found to be well. They made their way back to the town, where their boat is usually moored, to await its recovery by the lifeboat crew.

The RIB was aground 25m up the beach, and began to re-float at 5.35pm. Once the boat fully re-floated it was determined that it would keep sufficient buoyancy to return to its mooring in the town under its own power with a lifeboat crew member in command, so the inshore lifeboat and the casualty RIB were navigated slowly into the harbour in the dense fog as darkness fell.

The casualty RIB was safely put back on its mooring at 7pm and handed over to its waiting crew. With no further assistance required, the inshore lifeboat left the scene at 7.07pm.

The lifeboat was ashore at the boathouse by 7.25pm. It was sanitised, rehoused and refuelled and back on service again at 8.05pm

Lifeboat Operations Manager, Chris Hardy, said ‘whilst we are happy with the outcome, today’s incident highlights the importance of understanding the tide and planning accordingly, so that you are not putting yourself and others at risk.’

RNLI media contacts

For more information please telephone Justine Sykes, RNLI Lifeboat Press Officer on 07710510516 or juscsykes@gmail.com or Clare Hopps, Regional Media Officer on 07824 518641 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 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.

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.

About the author

Justine Sykes

Lifeboat Press Officer, Wells-next-the-Sea Lifeboat Station

RNLI Wells inshore lifeboat tows RIB back in through the channel.

RNLI/Ray West

RNLI Wells inshore lifeboat tows stranded RIB back to safety

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.