Donate now

RNLI Wells tasked to assess situation of fishing vessel with engine failure

Lifeboats News Release

Wells lifeboat was tasked by HM Coastguard at 10.25pm on 13 July to assess the situation of a 10m long fishing vessel with two people on board. It was experiencing engine problems on passage from Brightlingsea to Grimsby. Because of this, it had seemingly run into shallow water in Holkham Bay.

RNLI Wells all-weather lifeboat towing fishing vessel to the safety of Wells Harbour

RNLI/Ray West

RNLI Wells all-weather lifeboat towing fishing vessel to the safety of Wells Harbour

The volunteer crew of the all-weather lifeboat were paged at 10.29pm with a view on the ebbing tide to assess the situation once the boathouse had been in contact with the vessel.

The fishing vessel advised it had subsequently run aground and with no chance of it re-floating. With low water approaching it was decided to task the inshore lifeboat to review how best assist the vessel on the next flood tide.

Wells inshore lifeboat launched at 10.52pm and proceeded to Holkham Bay to meet with the vessel aground; however, it became evident that the vessel was in a location to the east of Wells Harbour. The lifeboat immediately made its way to the revised position, arriving on scene at 11.18pm. The volunteer crew established that the vessel was hard aground on the sandy beach. After assessing the situation, the helm made the decision that undertaking a tow was necessary and the safest way to assist the casualties. A tow was made in preparation for the re-floating of the vessel on the incoming tide, using the all-weather lifeboat to provide further assistance.

With preparations all set and the fishing boat and crew in a safe position, the inshore lifeboat left the scene at 11.45pm and returned to the boathouse.

The inshore lifeboat was ashore at 12.10am on 14 July, where it was sanitised, rehoused and refuelled, and back on service again at 1am.

The inshore and all-weather lifeboat crew were mustered at 3am on 14 July. The all-weather lifeboat left the boathouse 3.15am and launched at the low water launch site in Holkham Bay at 3.50am. The inshore lifeboat launched outside the boathouse on the flood tide at 3.55am and both boats proceeded to the location of the fishing vessel aground, arriving on scene at 4.10am.

With weather conditions favourable and with very little swell onto the beach, the inshore lifeboat was able to tow the fishing vessel into deeper water where the tow was passed to the all-weather lifeboat crew.

The inshore lifeboat proceeded back to the boathouse at 4.25am and was ashore at 4.50am. With the fishing vessel under tow, the all-weather lifeboat also headed back towards Wells Harbour, the nearest safe and suitable port.

The lifeboat entered the harbour at 5.10am and shortened up the tow before mooring the fishing vessel in the safety of the outer harbour at 5.30am.

The all-weather lifeboat then returned to station and was ashore at 5.40am. Both boats were rehoused, refuelled and sanitised, being ready again for service at 6.30am.

Lifeboat Operations Manager, Chris Hardy, said ‘we are on call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to assist anyone who may be in danger from the sea. After assessing the situation, the decision to tow the fishing boat into port was the safest thing to do for the crew on board; I am happy with the outcome.’


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 143,000 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

For more information, please telephone Justine Sykes, RNLI Wells Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer on 07710510516


RNLI Wells all-weather lifeboat towing fishing vessel as the sun comes up

RNLI/Ray West

RNLI Wells all-weather lifeboat towing fishing vessel as the sun comes up

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.