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Platinum Jubilee celebrations interrupted for Walton and Frinton RNLI volunteers

Lifeboats News Release

Volunteers from Walton and Frinton Royal National Lifeboat Institution put Jubilee celebrations on hold on Saturday afternoon to go to the aid of a vessel in difficulty.

RNLI/Stewart Oxley

Walton & Frinton lifeboat towing casualty in challenging conditions.

The crew of the all-weather lifeboat Irene Muriel Rees were tasked just before 1pm on June 4 by UK Coastguard to assist a yacht with two men aboard that was in difficulty.

The yacht, which had suffered steering issues, was drifting in circles and heading towards Frinton beach.

Once on scene the lifeboat coxswain made the decision that the best and safest option was to take the vessel in tow back to its home port at Shotley Marina, a distance of approximately six nautical miles.

With a north-easterly wind of force six and gusting force seven, progress was slow and conditions challenging for the crew of the yacht.

The lifeboat was met at Shotley Marina by Holbrook Coastguard Rescue Team who assisted with getting the yacht through the lock and into the Marina.

Brothers Roger and Ian Lee had been heading for the River Blackwater when things started to go wrong.

Roger said: ‘We were heading down wind to the Blackwater having an exciting sail when the main bearing in the steering gearbox exploded, thus jamming the rudder to starboard. That was certainly not on the plan for the day and my brother and I will be forever grateful to Walton and Frinton Lifeboat for their cool and competent rescue of us and our boat.'

Ian commented: ‘A very big thank you to the SO professional crew of the Walton and Frinton lifeboat who came to our rescue when our steering jammed, thanks to the fantastic people on the lifeboat, all ended well.'

With conditions at the Walton Pier berth deteriorating the lifeboat was moored in Walton Backwaters overnight and returned to the Pier head on Sunday morning.

RNLI Media contacts

For more information please telephone Miranda Rayner, Walton and Frinton RNLI volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer on 07799691852 or [email protected]

RNLI/Stewart Oxley

The Walton & Frinton lifeboat with the disabled yacht in tow.

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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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.