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Harwich RNLI volunteer crew rescues yacht amidst challenging conditions

Lifeboats News Release

On the 20 August 2023 the dedicated volunteer crew of the Harwich inshore lifeboat (ILB) demonstrated exceptional seamanship and commitment as they responded to a distress call from a yacht with two people on board.

RNLI/Adam Prescott

This would be the second launch for the Harwich station in one day with the all- weather lifeboat being tasked to an injured worker on a wind farm 20 miles offshore earlier in the day.

The ILB was launched at 7.25pm in response to a distress call from the yacht, which had encountered a dire situation. The vessel's propeller had become entangled on a mooring line in the challenging waters of the River Deben near Ramsholt. Despite the rapidly approaching darkness, the volunteer crew wasted no time and reached the scene by 8.15pm.

Facing the complexities of negotiating the River Deben's entrance at low tide – a location known for its ever-shifting channel alignments and depths – the crew's skilful navigation was crucial to reaching the distressed yacht. The Harwich ILB crew worked meticulously to free the yacht from the obstruction, displaying their proficiency even amidst challenging conditions.

Once the yacht was liberated from the entanglement, the ILB crew undertook another crucial task escorting the yacht safely to its designated mooring.

Throughout the operation, the volunteers remained vigilant, ensuring the safety of the two crew on board the yacht. As the darkness deepened, the ILB crew's dedication was unwavering as they stood by to oversee the passengers' safe disembarkation.

Finally, at 9.14pm, with the yacht's crew ashore and the yacht securely moored, the Harwich ILB crew stood down from the operation. The entire operation was completed when the ILB returned to the station at 10.25pm, having been refuelled and declared ready for further service.

This successful mission highlighted the crucial role played by the RNLI's volunteer crew members to ensure the safety of those at sea. Their efforts, particularly in the face of shifting waterways and dwindling light, underscore the significance of the RNLI's continuous dedication to saving lives at sea.

Notes to Editors

The RNLI is the Royal National Lifeboat Institution.

Harwich RNLI is based on The Quay, Harwich. The lifeboat station was founded in 1829 and the volunteer crew use an all-weather Severn class lifeboat (ALB) The Duke of Kent and B class lifeboat (ILB) Tierney, Harvey and Sonny Reid.

The current generation of B class lifeboat is called the Atlantic 85 – named after Atlantic College in Wales where these rigid inflatable lifeboats (RIBs) were first developed. 85 represents its length – nearly 8.5m.

There have been three generations of B class lifeboat. The first one was the Atlantic 21, the first RIB to join the RNLI fleet. It served from 1972 until 2008.

The Atlantic 21 was then replaced by the Atlantic 75, which was in service from 1993 until 2022. It has now been replaced by the Atlantic 85, which was introduced to the fleet in 2005.

RNLI Media Contacts

For further information, please contact Adam Prescott, volunteer RNLI Lifeboat Press Officer: [email protected]

Or, the RNLI Press Office: [email protected]

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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For more information please visit the RNLI website or Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. News releases, videos and photos are available on the News Centre.

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.