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A long shout on the longest day of the year for Tynemouth RNLI

Lifeboats News Release

On 21 June 2023, the longest day of the year, Summer Solstice, Tynemouth’s Severn Class all-weather lifeboat was called to a 47ft sailing vessel that had a broken rudder 50 miles offshore.

Tynemouth all-weather lifeboat with eight crew onboard, launched into the night at 00:35am to locate a yacht that had declared an urgent Pan-Pan approximately 55 miles off the North East Coast. The lifeboat made best speed to their location, arriving around two and a half hours later.

Once on scene, the lifeboat communicated with the crew and found that the rudder of the vessel had become damaged. This was at risk of opening a hole in the bottom of the yacht causing water to enter and sink the vessel. The crew had made some emergency repairs using wood and straps but it would not hold for a long distance.

Between the Coxswain of the lifeboat and the yacht’s skipper, it was decided that as the repairs seemed to be holding, it was best that the lifeboat escort the yacht back to the safety of the Tyne but stand by to provide immediate assistance should the repairs fail.

The lifeboat crew then rotated in shifts to ensure a safe watch was kept on the vessel at all times, checking in with them every 60 minutes on the seven hour trip back to the Tyne.

The lifeboat arrived back into the Tyne at 9:30am where the volunteer crew continued to escort the sailing vessel to Royal Quays Marina where it could undertake repairs. The lifeboat fuelled up to be made ready for service again, where some crew members came down to cook bacon sandwiches for the exhausted crew.

Once the yacht was alongside, the Coxswain went to inspect the vessel to understand the damage that had been caused.

Sam Clow, Tynemouth RNLI Coxswain explained: 'If it weren't for the quick thinking of the yacht’s crew and they had not completed the repairs to the vessel the yacht would surely have been lost. The crew had life rafts and grab bags prepared in case the worst were to happen, showing even experienced sailors can get into difficulties.'

On arriving back at the station at 10:30am, within 30 minutes the station's inshore lifeboat (ILB) was called into action to support Coastguard teams at South Shields. Two of the crew members who had been on the go since midnight were also present on that shout. It was a total of 11 hours at sea and a 100 mile round trip, which meant a long day for all involved.

Remember that if you need assistance by the coast dial 999 and ask for the Coastguard.

RNLI Picture captions

The screen grabs taken from the RNLI video footage, show the various stages of the call out. Credit: RNLI/James Waters.

RNLI media contacts

For more information please telephone James Waters, RNLI volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer on 07791886324 or [email protected] or, Clare Hopps, RNLI Regional Media Officer on 07824518641 or [email protected] or contact the RNLI Press Office on 01202 336789.
Tynemouth Lifeboat Escorting a Yacht through the Tynemouth Piers

RNLI/James Waters

Tynemouth Lifeboat Escorting a Yacht through the Tynemouth Piers

RNLI/James Waters

Tynemouth Lifeboat on Scene, 50 miles offshore

RNLI/James Waters

Sailing Vessel making its own way back to Tynemouth

RNLI/James Waters

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.

Learn more about the RNLI

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.