The volunteer crews of three RNLI Lifeboat stations launched to assist a yacht i

Lifeboats News Release

The Sheerness RNLI all-weather lifeboat Judith Copping Joyce launched with a crew of six at 1.10pm on Wednesday 8 March 2023 to assist lifeboats from Margate and Ramsgate

The broken down yacht with RNLI crew onboard to attach a towline.

RNLI/Vic Booth

The casualty craft

The Sheerness lifeboat was tasked by the UK Coastguard to rendezvous with the Ramsgate RNLI all-weather lifeboat to take over the tow of a 16m yacht with two men, aged 72 and 73, which had suffered engine failure and was drifting in rough seas off Margate whilst on route from Ramsgate to Brightlingsea in Essex.

The Margate inshore Lifeboat was the first to be tasked, but with the prevailing weather conditions of snow, high winds and rough seas at the time the decision was made to call out the much bigger Trent Class lifeboat from Ramsgate to tow the yacht to safety.

With the Margate lifeboat ‘standing off’ after having put a crew member onboard the casualty and with the Ramsgate lifeboat on scene a towline was attached and after further consultation with the UK Coastguard with reference to the weather conditions the decision was made to tow the casualty towards Sheerness.

The Sheerness ALB met the Ramsgate lifeboat off Herne Bay at 2.04pm and took over the tow to Queenborough Harbour all-tide landing where the casualty was secured at 6.25pm.

The ALB was released at 6.30pm and was back on station and ready for service at 7.00pm

Weather throughout: Rain and snow. Winds ENE force 7 with rough seas and poor visibility.


The Sheerness all-weather lifeboat with the casualty now under tow to Queenborough Harbour whilst the Ramsgate ALB in the background returns to home station

RNLI/Vic Booth

Taking over the 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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