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Ramsgate RNLI volunteer crew launch to reports of a sinking vessel.

Lifeboats News Release

On Sunday 1 May at 13.12 the relief all weather lifeboat and the inshore lifeboat launched to a report from a passing yacht of a sinking vessel twenty miles NE of Ramsgate.

A flybridge of a motor cruiser partially submerged in the sea

RNLI/Ramsgate RNLI

The flybridge of the motor cruiser.

Once on scene the all weather relief lifeboat RNLB Henry Heys Duckworth and the inshore Claire and David Delves found a three metre by four metre section of a flybridge from a motor cruiser was found which appeared to have been immersed for a long time. A flybridge on a motor launch is the top part of the yacht, where the sun deck and upper steering position is based.

With a bit of manoeuvring the volunteer crew were able to find the name of the vessel it had come from and informed HM Coastguard who requested that they attempt to tow it back to Ramsgate as it was a hazard to shipping.

As the inshore lifeboat was in attendance, it was easy enough for a tow rope to be attached around the radar arch as that was the safest place to attach the rope. Towing in the calm seas was successful for a short time until the radar arch snapped in half.

The remaining three metres long radar arch was brought onboard the all weather boat and a second attempt was made to tow the remaining debris which lasted a couple of minutes, until the remainder of the radar arch snapped off. As the radar arch was full of buoyancy foam it was the only thing that had stopped the flybridge from sinking. Once fully sunk, in over thirty metres of water, the remaining section of radar arch was brought aboard and both lifeboats boats returned to station.

It was later discovered that the vessel has sunk off Aldeburgh, a coastal town in Suffolk, last year. Two persons had taken to their life raft and had been picked up by Aldeburgh Lifeboat and taken to safety.

The National Lifeboat service is funded entirely by public donations and can be called upon at any time to assist people in danger or when there is danger to shipping. If a smaller vessel had hit the debris especially at night the consequences could have been serious.

Karen Cox Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer tel. 07779848431 Email. [email protected]

Paul Dunt RNLI Regional Media Officer London and South East tel. 07785296252 Email. [email protected]

Part of the flybridge lying on the ground.

RNLI/Ramsgate RNLI

All that remained of the flybridge once taken ashore

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.