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Skegness lifeboats aid yacht south of Skegness following PAN-PAN

Lifeboats News Release

Skegness RNLI Lifeboat Station successfully assisted a yacht in distress, approximately eight miles south of Skegness in Boston Deeps on 18 September 2023.


Helmet camera photo from crew member onboard casualty vessel

At around 4:06pm, a PAN-PAN was heard by Humber Coastguard from a vessel that was in the Boston Deeps area. The yacht had lost power and was single-crewed. The crew member called for help and requested assistance from the Coastguard.

Upon receiving the tasking from the Coastguard, the Skegness all-weather lifeboat (ALB) immediately launched and arrived on scene to assess the situation. This was the first service launch for relief all-weather lifeboat Storm Rider (13-04) at Skegness.

Paul Simpson, RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager, said: 'In situations of distress at sea, knowing how to call for help is crucial. Using VHF radio Channel 16 or your mobile to dial 999/112 can be the difference between a successful rescue and a negative outcome. We urge all craft owners to familiarise themselves with these emergency communication methods and ensure their equipment is in working order before departing.'

Given the tide and conditions, the best course of action was determined to be deploying a member of the ALB crew aboard the yacht and rigging a tow to head towards Gibraltar Point, the nearest and most appropriate safe haven for the yacht.

The volunteer lifeboat crew onboard the ALB was led by Coxswain Craig Willard and included Craig Hopkins, Mark Holley, Martin Stokes, Ryan Speed and Lewis Knight onboard during the service call.

Due to low water, the Skegness inshore lifeboat (ILB) was launched at 5:48 pm to assist with the tow. Once on scene, the yacht managed to restart its engines with the help of the volunteer RNLI crew, who assisted the sole crew member in positioning and helming the vessel. The ILB escorted the yacht until the engine failed again. Subsequently, the ILB rigged a tow until the yacht was safely back at its mooring.

The volunteer inshore lifeboat crew was led by Helm Matt Jackson and included James Porter and Curtis Redford onboard during the service call.

RNLI Station Coxswain, Craig Willard expressed his gratitude: 'I want to extend my sincere thanks to the skipper of the craft for their professionalism during our service launch. Their cooperation greatly facilitated our efforts. I am also immensely proud of our volunteer crew, both seagoing and shore-based, for their dedication and involvement across both launches. Their teamwork is a testament to the spirit of the RNLI and our commitment to saving lives at sea.'

Skegness' Coastguard Rescue Team took over once the yacht was secured on it's mooring. The charity’s lifeboats arrived back at Skegness Central Beach shortly after handing over the vessel to the Coastguard, and the crew debriefed following the service launch. Then they washed down and refuelled the lifeboats to ensure they were ready for the next emergency.

This successful assistance operation underscores the vital role RNLI Skegness volunteer crew plays in maritime safety along the Lincolnshire coastline and demonstrates the crew members' dedication to respond swiftly and effectively to any emergency situation.

Notes to editors

  • The RNLI is the Royal National Lifeboat Institution.
  • PAN-PAN, short for “possible assistance needed,” is used to communicate an urgent, but not emergency, situation over VHF radio.
  • Skegness RNLI is based on Tower Esplanade, Skegness. The lifeboat station was founded in 1825 and the volunteer crew use an inshore D class lifeboat The Holland Family and as well as an all-weather Shannon class lifeboat the Joel and April Grunnill.
  • Currently both lifeboats are relief lifeboats as the Skegness lifeboats are in for repair or regular servicing. The all-weather Shannon class lifeboat Storm Rider (13-04) has stepped in for Joel and April Grunnill (13-17), while the D class inshore lifeboat Barbara Anne Bennett (D-826) is covering for The Holland Family (D-842).
RNLI media contacts
For further information, please contact:
Brad Johnson, Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer for Skegness at: [email protected]
RNLI Press Office: 01202 336789 or [email protected]


Helmet camera photo from crew member onboard all-weather lifeboat


Helmet camera photo from crew member onboard casualty vessel


Helmet camera photo from crew member onboard casualty vessel


Helmet camera photo from crew member onboard casualty vessel

RNLI/Nigel Millard

Craig Willard, Coxswain of Skegness Lifeboat Station

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.