Castletownbere RNLI lifeboat battles Storm Betty to rescue yacht in Co Kerry
Castletownbere RNLI's lifeboat was launched in gale force winds early this morning (Saturday, 19 August 2023) to go to the assistance of two sailors whose yacht got into difficulties on the northern shore of Kenmare Bay.
The 31ft ketch had been anchored off Dromquinna, and as last night’s storm became increasingly strong, the vessel dragged anchor and became stuck fast on a rock. The sailors were concerned and raised the alarm with the Irish Coast Guard’s Marine Research Coordination Centre in Valentia stating that they were requesting immediate assistance.
Castletownbere RNLI's lifeboat, Annette Hutton, was requested at 3.22am and launched at 3.31am under the command of Coxswain Dave Fenton, mechanic Marney O’Donoghue with crew Seamus Harrington, John William O’Donoghue, Joe Cronin, Donagh Murphy and Will Power. The Shannon based Irish Coast Guard Helicopter Rescue 115 was also tasked to assist in the rescue.
On leaving harbour, Castletownbere RNLI's lifeboat faced a three-hour trip to Dromquinna. Coxswain Fenton described driving rain, strong winds and a large sea swell as the lifeboat travelled westwards, then up the Dursey Sound and across Kenmare Bay.
The yacht was subsequently located at 6.08 on a rock south of Dromquinna but, with the rising tide, volunteer lifeboat crew were able to attach a tow rope and pull the vessel clear. The yacht was undamaged and both sailors were found to be safe and well. It was then decided to tow the yacht to Castletownbere. The tow is currently in progress and the lifeboat and yacht are expected in port at 2pm.
Paul Stevens, Lifeboat Operations Manager at Castletownbere RNLI, complimented the coxswain and crew for their swift response and effective rescue. He added: ‘When the crew returns this afternoon, they will have spent over ten hours at sea in challenging conditions – demonstrating their very strong commitment to the lifeboat service’.
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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