Two call outs in one day for Largs RNLI

Lifeboats News Release

Tuesday 2 August saw Largs volunteer lifeboat crew's pagers activated in the morning and the evening to two yachts with fouled propellers.

The volunteer crew at Largs were first alerted at 10:24am to go to the assistance of a 33-foot yacht that had fouled its propeller on a mooring buoy in the vicinity of the Eileans, Millport Bay, Ilse of Cumbrae.

The crew launched and made best speed on board their Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat, R A Wilson, to the position provided by the yacht skipper.

On arrival a crew member was placed on board the yacht to assess for any water ingress or noticeable damage caused by the yacht being fouled by its propeller in a South Westerly Force 5 wind.

Due to the weather, the lifeboat helm, with the request of the skipper, took the yacht under an alongside tow, which eased the tension off the mooring line and allowed the lifeboat crew to cut the line which then freed the yacht.

With the yacht free but still fouled by the propeller, it was agreed that the best course of action was to take the yacht under tow back to Largs yacht haven where it would be lifted from the water and assessed for any damage to its propeller shaft.

As the Yacht was now safe the volunteer crew were released from service and returned to the boathouse where the Lifeboat was recovered and refuelled.

Helm, Dave Stevens said: 'This incident highlights the importance of maintaining good watch keeping practices whilst transiting between mooring buoys, especially in slightly rougher sea conditions.'

The second call out on Tuesday saw the volunteer crew respond to their pagers at 4:35pm.

On arrival at the lifeboat station, the volunteer crew were advised that a 32-foot yacht had placed a PAN PAN call as they had fouled their propeller and were in difficulty one mile off shore at Inverkip.

The yacht had also advised the UK Coastguard that they were drifting at 4 knots towards rocks.

As the lifeboat was travelling to the last reported location of the yacht, another vessel contacted the UK Coastguard to advise they were approaching the casualty vessel and would stand by in case any further assistance was required.

Once at the scene, a crew member was placed on board the yacht to assess and assist the skipper, the crew were able to drop their foresail reducing their rate of drift.

Due to the yacht's position and the weather conditions, it was decided with agreement from the yacht's skipper that it be taken under tow to Holy Loch Marina, which was the nearest safe haven.

On arrival at Holy Loch Marina, the yacht was assisted alongside a pontoon by members of Dunoon Coastguard Rescue Team.

With the vessel now safe, the volunteer crew were released and returned to station where the lifeboat was recovered, refuelled and made ready for the next service call.

Dave Linton, Helm at Largs RNLI, said: 'A line from the yacht had fallen over the side and got fouled around the propeller shaft causing the engine to stop. Along with issues with their foresail, the vessel, although still with some steering, was drifting closer towards a rocky shore. It is always advisable, especially when going through rougher seas, to ensure all boat lines are secured on deck to reduce the risk of this situation occurring.'

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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