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Lyme Regis RNLI lifeboat launches to beached yacht

Lifeboats News Release

Lyme Regis RNLI volunteer lifeboat crew had their regular evening training session interrupted on Tuesday (15 Aug), when they were tasked to go to the aid of a man whose yacht had grounded on the beach at West Bexington.

Yacht lying on its side on the beach

RNLI/Tim Edwards

Yacht aground at West Bexington

The 10m yacht had suffered engine failure during a passage from Weymouth to West Bay and was washed ashore at West Bexington. The solo sailor, a man in his seventies, was still on board the yacht as it grounded prompting concern from the public for his safety. In response to a 999 call, Solent Coastguard tasked the Lyme Regis lifeboat to investigate and assess the situation.

The volunteer lifeboat crew received the Coastguard tasking at 5.18pm shortly after they had launched on their regular Tuesday evening training session. They immediately diverted to the stricken yacht arriving on scene at 5.38pm where they found the man fit and well. Having assessed the situation the crew decided that it would be possible to refloat the yacht at high tide and tow it to safety. Volunteer Helm Tim Edwards said:

‘The yacht was firmly aground and unlikely to refloat on her own. Even if she did, with no engine to help him, the skipper would struggle to make it to a place of safety. As we had favourable wind conditions and a rising tide, we decided to attempt to tow the yacht clear. After about 45 minutes she refloated and we were able to tow her and her skipper to the safety of West Bay harbour.’

Once the yacht had been handed over to West Bay harbour staff, the Spirit of Loch Fyne lifeboat returned to Lyme Regis at 8.15pm.

Beached yacht now refloated and under tow

RNLI/Tim Edwards

Beached yacht refloated and under tow

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.