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Staithes and Runswick RNLI launch to yacht three miles off Staithes

Lifeboats News Release

Staithes and Runswick RNLI volunteer lifeboat crew were paged at 2.11pm on Thursday 21 March 2024 after a Mayday broadcast from a nine metre yacht in difficulty.

RNLI Staithes and Runswick

Staithes and Runswick RNLI lifeboat Sheila and Dennis Tongue III brings the casualty vessel alongside in Whitby.

The lifeboat launched at 2.15pm and was alongside the casualty vessel by 2.25pm. Once on scene, and with a member of the Staithes and Runswick lifeboat crew on board, it was established that the vessel had suffered engine failure and had damaged sails.

The lone skipper was also unwell and had to be extracted from the vessel onto Staithes and Runswick RNLI's Atlantic 85 lifeboat and taken to Whitby, where the boat was alongside Whitby lifeboat station at 2.54pm, to be passed to Whitby Coastguard officers.

A local trawler had offered assistance to the casualty and his yacht, also responding to the Mayday. To avoid the yacht becoming a hazard to navigation, the trawler took up the tow to Whitby with a volunteer crew member from Staithes and Runswick onboard the casualty vessel.

Staithes and Runswick RNLI lifeboat then returned to the trawler which was by now approaching Whitby harbour. The lifeboat took over the tow once inside of the piers in Whitby, this method being the most practical way of bringing the yacht alongside at Whitby harbour to waiting harbour officers at 3.37pm.

Luke Hutchinson, RNLI Helm said of the rescue: 'This is a prime example of seafarers coming together to help fellow seafarers when in their time of need.'

Staithes and Runswick RNLI lifeboat was rehoused and ready for service at 4.41pm.

The RNLI advises anyone heading out to sea in a yacht or boat to remember to take a means of contacting the shore and other vessels such as a VHF radio. Some key safety tips are available here;

Notes to Editor
Staithes and Runswick RNLI lifeboat has been in operation since 1978 with Atlantic B-Class inshore lifeboats (ILB’s). The present ILB at the station B-897 Sheila and Dennis Tongue III has been on station since 2016 and was provided as part of a legacy left to the charity by Sheila and Dennis Tongue.

In 2024, the RNLI is celebrating 200 years - and counting, commemorating this remarkable past, celebrating our lifesaving achievements today, and inspiring a future where we can save every one. More information on RNLI 200 can be found at

RNLI media contacts
For further information, please contact:
James Stoker, RNLI volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer at: [email protected] or Clare Hopps, RNLI Regional Communications Manager on 07824 518641 or, [email protected] or contact the RNLI Press Office on 01202 336789.

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.