Skerries RNLI tow 34 foot yacht to safety

Lifeboats News Release

Skerries RNLI towed a 34 foot yacht with two men on board to safety yesterday (Friday 24 September) afternoon after they suffered mechanical failure with their engine.

Skerries RNLI towing the yacht to safety

RNLI/Gerry Canning

Skerries RNLI towing the yacht to safety

Shortly after 12pm, Dublin Coast Guard received a VHF call from a 34 foot yacht reporting that they had suffered a mechanical failure and had lost both drive and steering. They were situated approximately 2 miles north east of Lambay island and were in need of assistance.

The RNLI volunteers in Skerries launched their Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat “Louis Simson” and headed for Lambay island. Dublin Coast Guard then updated the lifeboat with GPS coordinates that had been provided by the stricken vessel. These coordinates were entered into the navigation system on the lifeboat, enabling the crew to plot a course directly to the yacht.

Once the lifeboat arrived on scene, the Helm carried out a risk assessment and decided that the safest course of action would be to tow the vessel to the nearest suitable berth in Malahide marina. The crew communicated their intentions to the men over VHF radio. A towing bridle was rigged on board the yacht before a line was passed from the lifeboat, establishing an astern tow.

An hour later, as the lifeboat approached the entrance to Malahide estuary, the tow was reconfigured, bringing the yacht alongside the lifeboat. This enabled the lifeboat to have greater directional control over the casualty vessel as it maneuvered its way up the narrow channel towards the marina before gently bringing it alongside at the pontoon.

Once the casualty vessel was safely alongside, the lifeboat navigated out of the estuary and headed for Skerries, arriving back at station almost 3 hours after they had launched. The lifeboat was washed down, refuelled and made ready for the next call out.

Conditions on scene at the time were one metre swells with force five to six southerly wind, occasionally gusting to force seven.

Speaking about the call out, volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer for Skerries RNLI, Gerry Canning said: ‘Todays call out goes to show the importance of carrying a means to contact the shore. The sailors today were very experienced and had all the best equipment, but things can still go wrong out on the water. They were able to provide us with their exact location using GPS which is always a great help. The crew in the boat then did a great job using all their experience and training to make a difficult tow look easy.’

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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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