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Harwich RNLI volunteers rescue stranded five metre Cornish Crabber in 35mph wind

Lifeboats News Release

Harwich RNLI’s twelfth service of 2022 sees a volunteer Helm abandoning a dentist’s appointment to assist a stranded Cornish Crabber close to the busy shipping lanes of Harwich International Port, followed by a visit from East of England Paddlesports with a £315 donation.


At 3.15pm on Thursday 31 March the volunteer crew of Harwich RNLI’s Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat Tierney, Harvey, and Sonny Reid were requested by the UK Coastguard to assist a six metre yacht, with one occupant, which had reportedly suffered engine failure in 35mph winds close to Harwich International Port.

Taking the helm was Antony Charles, who was at the dentist when the pager sounded. Arriving on scene, Antony and his fellow volunteers discovered the vessel to be a Cornish Crabber from the Royal Hospital School at Holbrook, which had been making its way to Shotley with three other vessels when its engine failed. The three accompanying vessels had tried unsuccessfully to help, so the yacht dropped its anchor and called the coastguard for assistance, as the conditions were too bad to try and attempt to use its sails.

Due to the yacht offering no protection from the worsening conditions, and the proximity to the busy Harwich International Port, it was deemed the safest option was to take the yacht and its occupant to Shotley Marina, where shelter from the conditions could be found, and be reunited with the three other vessels which had set out together earlier in the day. The lifeboat and crew were back on station, refuelled and ready for service by 5pm.

A little while later the volunteers of Harwich RNLI welcomed Oli Jordan, Jess Ashley, and Andy Large from East of England Paddlesports ( to the station. Starting out as a Facebook group in 2017 sharing advice and arranging group events on and off the water, the group has grown into a community of over 10,000 like-minded individuals, helping each other to get the most from paddlesports.

Having been delayed by Covid restrictions for two years, the group are keen to join in sea safety meetings, helping everyone better understand the needs and safety concerns for a water sport that has grown exponentially in popularity in recent years. Harwich RNLI Deputy Launch Authority Dave Thurston, was also presented with a donation for £315.

Whichever water sport or activity you wish to undertake the safety advice has similar key messages:

  • Carry a means of calling for help on you, such as a mobile phone in a waterproof pouch.
  • Wear suitable clothing for the conditions.
  • Suitable floatation device for your activity, such as a lifejacket or buoyancy aid. For some activities like paddle boarding, a more tailored device would be advantageous.
  • Make sure your equipment is in good condition, especially any safety features.
  • Check tides and weather before setting out.
  • Get the appropriate training.
  • Don’t go alone, and if you do, tell someone where you are going and when you plan to be back.
  • Look out for each other.
  • Float like a big starfish if you fall in the water until you get your breathing under control
  • Lots more advice on enjoying the water safely available at

RNLI media contacts

For more information, please contact:

Richard Wigley, RNLI Harwich volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer on 07903424698 or [email protected],

Clare Hopps, Regional Media Officer on 07824518641or [email protected] 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 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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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.