Fowey RNLI lifeboat launched to 85 year old stranded yachtsman

Lifeboats News Release

On Easter Saturday April 16, Fowey RNLI’s all-weather Trent class lifeboat moored up on Fowey Town Quay at 5pm, ready to welcome visitors onboard for guided tours. A distress call was received from a stranded 85 year old yachtsman and at 5.31pm Fowey lifeboat was launched


Fowey lifeboat tows a stranded yacht to safety

Visitors were enjoying the experience and queues of excited families were forming outside the lifeboat, when the distress call was received. The 7 metre yacht was being helmed single-handedly by the man who was on passage from Torquay to Falmouth. He got into difficulties out at sea, 7 miles south east of Fowey Harbour. His chart plotter had failed, and he also experienced engine problems and light winds. Fortunately he was carrying a VHF radio onboard and as he was in unfamiliar waters and on his own, he did the right thing and made a Pan Pan distress call to the coastguard. A Pan Pan call means that the situation is serious, but unlike a May Day call, there isn’t a grave and imminent danger to the boat or anyone on board.

The coastguard tasked Fowey RNLI to assist, and Fowey lifeboat reached the casualty vessel at 6.05pm. The coxswain put a crew member onboard the yacht to assist with towing and the yachtsman and his yacht were towed safely back into Fowey. The lifeboat was back on the mooring at 8.15pm and ready for service again at 8.30pm.

Coxswain Jonathan Pritchard said: ‘As the summer sailing season approaches we are reminding people how important it is to carry a means of calling for help, particularly when sailing alone. You should also tell someone else where you are going and when you’ll be back, so they can alert the coastguard if you are overdue. Before setting out, check the weather forecast and ensure your engine and onboard equipment are well maintained.’

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.