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Swanage lifeboats launch twice on a breezy Sunday

Lifeboats News Release

The Swanage D-class inshore lifeboat (ILB) was launched to recover a dinghy off Old Harry and the all-weather lifeboat launched a couple of hours later to assist a yacht struggling with the strong tide.

Swanage all-weather lifeboat escorting a yacht across Durlston Bay


Swanage all-weather lifeboat escorting a yacht across Durlston Bay
The Swanage D-class inshore lifeboat (ILB) was launched to recover a dinghy off Old Harry after a passing jetskier helped the solo sailor following a capsize.

The jetskier had noticed the sailor in some difficulty in quite strong southerly winds. The dinghy sailor was taken on board the jetski and they moved to a sheltered position in the lee of Old Harry while they informed the UK Coastguard of the situation.

The UK Coastguard requested the ILB and asked the volunteers to locate and recover the dinghy as it would present a risk to other craft in the area. The small dinghy was located and righted before being taken in tow. On the way to Middle Beach the ILB met up with the jetskier and dinghy sailor. The sailor was taken onto the lifeboat to go ashore allowing the jetskier to continue their activity.

ILB Crew: (Helm) Matthew Steeden, Phil Palmer, Alice Haw
Shore Crew: (Winchman) Gavin Steeden, Gary Buglass, Nigel Bower, Julian Vass

Less than two hours after the ILB was recovered, the all-weather lifeboat was requested to assist a sailing vessel that was struggling to get through the race at St Alban's Head. The Shannon class lifeboat launched and soon identified the location of the yacht that was being monitored by the volunteers of the National Coastwatch Station at St Aldhelm's Head.

The lifeboat established communication with the yacht to understand what help they required. The yacht's crew were concerned they were not making headway in the strong tide. With the lifeboat on scene the crew were was able to establish that the yacht was making slow progress through the tide. A lifeboat crew member was put aboard to assist the yacht's crew and assess whether to establish a tow.

When the yacht had passed through the worst of the race, the genoa was unfurled and the yacht continued to make good progress with the lifeboat escorting alongside. It was decided not to take the vessel under tow as this was not expected to increase the speed of the vessel's progress.

The yacht was headed for Poole harbour and with the yacht having made good progress to Swanage the skipper was happy to continue into Poole without assistance. The volunteer crew member was picked up for the vessel and the lifeboat was freed to return to station.

ALB Crew: Rob Aggas (Coxswain), Gavin Steeden, Roydon Woodford, Becky Mack, Duncan Youngs, Fergus Holley
Shor Crew: Gary Buglass, Matt Steeden, Julian Vass, Nige Bower.

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.