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Late night call for Swanage RNLI volunteers

Lifeboats News Release

Swanage's all-weather lifeboat was tasked to a 27' motorboat with two people on board that had suffered catastrophic water pump failure, rendering its engine unusable, in the shipping lanes 28 miles south of Swanage.

Image of vessel track


Image of vessel track
With no engine the casualty vessel was drifting amongst the cargo ships and required assistance. The crew were paged and the all-weather lifeboat was soon underway at best speed. The estimated time of arrival to the casualty's position was a little over an hour.

As the lifeboat closed in on the stricken vessel they were able to use RADAR and radio direction finding to accurately locate the boat and once on scene two crew members were put aboard to rig a tow and make sure that the two people on board were OK.

With the tow rigged and the lights of France visible on the horizon the lifeboat altered course back to the north and started the tow back to Swanage. The time back to Swanage Bay was showing as a little over four hours so the volunteers settled in for the slow trip.

About 40 minutes after starting the tow the battery on the casualty vessel went flat leaving them without lights or VHF radio. If they hadn't been already under tow at that point they would have been drifting in the shipping lanes with no lights and no means of communication.

The trip back to Swanage was uneventful with the lifeboat only having to make a few course alterations to avoid other shipping in the area. At 2.30am the casualty vessel was secured to the RNLI mooring and the two people taken aboard the lifeboat to go ashore.

The lifeboat was then rehoused, washed down, refuelled and made ready for service with the volunteers leaving the station just after 3.15am.

ALB Crew: (Coxn) Dave Turnbull, Gavin Steeden, Matthew Steeden, Phil Palmer, Felix Williams, Neil Brooks

Shore Crew: (Head Launcher) Luke Kill, (Winchman) Gary Buglass, Jamie Trumper, Nigel Bower

Notes to Editors

  • Image of lifeboat track - Credit RNLI

RNLI volunteer media contact

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