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Swanage volunteer lifeboat crew spend more than 10 hours at sea for two rescues

Lifeboats News Release

Swanage's Shannon class ALB was tasked to assist a 24m trawler 21Nm SE of Swanage.

The trawler had suffered catastrophic gearbox failure and was unable to move under her own power. Drifting with the wind and tide the 156 tonne boat needed assistance to get back to a safe haven.

The lifeboat launched with a volunteer crew of 6, made good speed in the bumpy conditions and arrived on scene just under an hour from launch.

After a chat with the skipper it was agreed to take the trawler in tow and head for Poole Harbour. The tow line was connected and paid out to its full 200m length before the slow tow was commenced.

Just under 5 hours later the 2 vessels were approaching Poole Harbour so the towline was shortened to allow better manoeuvrability within the harbour. Poole lifeboat was also requested to launch to assist with getting the vessel alongside if required. Slow and steady progress was made through Poole Harbour before the trawler was brought alongside the lifeboat for the final tricky part of the voyage to bring the trawler alongside in to the confines of Poole Quay and on to a berth on Town Quay. Using the power of the lifeboat's waterjets and the bow thruster from the trawler the two boats were finally secured alongside the quay wall just after midnight.

Swanage Lifeboat Coxswain Dave Turnbull said: ‘To assist a vessel over 8 times the weight of our own lifeboat and nearly twice as long was certainly a challenge. The capability of our Shannon class lifeboat came into its own with its powerful engines combined with water jets and performed brilliantly when placing the vessel alongside. It was a long day and night for our volunteers but we were pleased to be able to get this vessel and her crew to a point of safety.’

The lifeboat was then released to return to station but little did the volunteer crew know that they would only just get outside Poole Harbour entrance before they were tasked to another rescue.

The UK Coastguard had received a request for assistance from Dorset Police. They requested that an area between Lake Pier and Rockley Park was searched for a missing person.

Swanage lifeboat was tasked to assist along with both Poole lifeboats and Coastguard Teams from Poole, Southbourne and Swanage.

The lifeboats were quickly on scene and searching. The area was saturated for 45 minutes by shore based and water based teams. Once the Swanage crew had completed their search they were stood down to return to station. Nothing had been found and the other units remained on scene for a short while longer before they were stood down too.

The Swanage crew were finally back on their slipway at 2.45am, more than 10 hours after launching.

ALB Crew: (Coxn) Dave Turnbull, Robert Aggas, Matthew Steeden, Andy Redout, Alan Parmenter, Fergus Holland
Shore Crew: (Head Launcher) Luke Kill, (Winchman) Paul Bedford, Ben Clarke, Jamie Trumper, Julian Vass

Notes to Editors

  • Photograph of Swanage lifeboat preparing to throw a towline to the stricken vessel - Credit RNLI Swanage

  • Photograph of Swanage and Poole lifeboats alongside the stricken vessel at Poole Town Quay - Credit RNLI Poole

  • RNLI media contacts

For more information please telephone Becky Mack, Swanage RNLI Volunteer Press Officer on 07812 558487 or at [email protected]

Swanage Shannon class lifeboat preparing to pass the tow line to the stricken trawler

RNLI Swanage

Swanage Shannon class lifeboat preparing to pass the tow line to the stricken trawler
The stricken trawler alongside alongside Poole Town Quay


The stricken trawler alongside alongside Poole Town Quay, with Swanage lifeboat and Poole lifeboat alongside

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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