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Douglas and Port St Mary RNLI called out to assist yacht with engine failure

Lifeboats News Release

Douglas all-weather lifeboat was launched today to assist a yacht with loss of power and steering.

Oli Dimelow

Douglas RNLI's Mersey class lifeboat Marine Engineer and Port St Mary's Trent class lifeboat Gough Ritchie II escorting the yacht into Douglas Harbour

At 11.30am on Sunday 29th May the all-weather Mersey class lifeboat, Marine Engineer, was launched to aid a 45-foot yacht drifting close to the rocks off the coast near Douglas Head.

On arrival to the yacht, a risk assessment was made by the Coxswain and it was established that the vessel was dangerously close to the rocks and in need of towing to safety. Douglas RNLI attempted to tow the vessel but due to the yachts rudder failure it was quickly identified that additional support was required.

Port St Mary RNLI’s all-weather Trent class lifeboat Gough Ritchie II, was already out on exercise under the command of Coxswain Richard Leigh, and following a request from Belfast Coastguard at 1.05pm, was diverted to go and assist Douglas RNLI. It was Richard’s first call-out since qualifying as Coxswain.

Gough Ritchie II had been scheduled to represent the RNLI at the Mona’s Queen Memorial Service at Kallow Point Port St Mary at 1.30pm, but operational requirements took priority.

The volunteer crews from both stations worked together to tow the yacht to safety with 2 people on board. During the tow the yachts rudder and power soon returned, resulting in the yacht being able to manoeuvre themselves back into Douglas harbour, escorted by both lifeboats.

For 2 other members of Port St Mary RNLI, Hannah Clayden and Matt Stanford, this was their first call-out since becoming volunteer crew members on the Trent class all-weather lifeboat.

Marine Engineer was back on station at 2pm, with Gough Ritchie II back in Port St Mary by 2:45pm, unfortunately too late to participate in the Mona’s Queen Memorial Service, remembering those Manx sailors who made the ultimate sacrifice at Dunkirk.

Edd Christian, volunteer coxswain of Douglas RNLI commented, ‘I am grateful we could draw on the support of our flank lifeboat station to ensure the yacht and its crew were returned to safety. Without immediate intervention the yacht would have ended up on the rocks and the consequences would have been catastrophic.’

Oli Dimelow

Douglas RNLI's all-weather lifeboat Marine Engineer towing the casualty yacht

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.