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Littlehampton RNLI rescue drifting yacht that was becalmed near Goring

Lifeboats News Release

On the afternoon of Friday 25 March HM Coastguard tasked the volunteer crews of Littlehampton lifeboat station to attend a yacht drifting westwards, offshore from Goring-by-Sea.

RNLI/Beth Brooks

Littlehampton RNLI’s B-Class lifeboat Renee Sherman returning to the boathouse under a glorious sunset.

At 4.07pm the volunteer crews were paged and launched Renee Sherman, the station’s B-Class lifeboat. Heading east out of the harbour entrance the sea conditions were smooth with a gentle breeze from the North-East with good visibility. They soon encountered a 34 foot yacht approximately one mile offshore that was unable to make headway due to a failed engine and light winds. A member of the lifeboat crew boarded the yacht and ascertained that all the occupants were fit and well and not in need of any medical attention. The tidal stream was now carrying the vessel westwards and there was a possibility with a falling tide that the yacht could be beached endangering the vessel and it’s crew of three people and a dog. There was also a risk that the vessel could create a hazard for other marine traffic, particularly with sunset due only two hours later. The decision was therefore made to take the yacht under tow to Littlehampton harbour where it could be safely moored.

The vessel was transferred to the public moorings at 5.50pm and Renee Sherman with her crew was returned to the boathouse accompanied by a glorious sunset.

Michael Kelly, Deputy Launch Authority for this incident, said:

‘Although the sea conditions were smooth with a light north easterly breeze the failure of the yacht’s engine limited the vessel’s ability to safely navigate. With a falling tide there was a possible risk of the vessel grounding at some point and becoming a hazard to other shipping as dusk approached. The casualty vessel was able to alert the Coastguard of their difficulties using a mobile phone, by calling 999 and asking for the Coastguard, and our volunteer crews were then able to assist. When setting sail at sea it is important to have a good understanding of your vessel’s capabilities in different conditions, your crew’s skills and limitations and a means of calling for assistance if in difficulty.’


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Anthony Fogg, Deputy Lifeboat Press Officer, Littlehampton RNLI 07823 509032 [email protected]

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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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