Rescue operations remind of need for precautions

HM Coastguard and RNLI have released details of two rescue operations, helping to raise awareness of safety in Maritime Safety Week.

HM Coastguard coordinated a search and rescue operation and rescued two yachtsmen after an EPIRB beacon alert was received for French registered yacht Gamin approximately 40 nautical miles off the Isles of Scilly.

Falmouth Coastguard Operations Centre coordinated the search last Sunday night and the St Mary’s RNLI lifeboat, the Newquay search and rescue helicopter, and a merchant vessel proceeded to locate the vessel.

The capsized yacht was located just after midnight. Two French nationals onboard confirmed they were not injured.

The crew of the St Mary’s lifeboat rescued the yachtsmen at around 2:15am (July 6) and returned them to St Mary’s Harbour.

A surveillance aircraft is currently keeping watch over the yacht to ensure the safety of other vessels until it can be removed.

“We were alerted to the incident because the crew set off two Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons (EPIRBs) which enabled us to successfully locate them,” says HM Coastguard Controller, James Instance. “This demonstrates the importance of carrying EPIRBS and ensuring they are registered with the coastguard at”

Meanwhile, Whitstable RNLI lifeboat was called twice to assist the same motor cruiser.

The lifeboat was launched first on Friday afternoon at 2:50pm following a report from the UK Coastguard of a 30-foot vessel with engine failure moored to a buoy in The Swale near Ridham Dock, just to the east of the Kingsferry Bridge.

On arrival at the scene, the lifeboat crew found the craft to be aground with its anchor deployed. The lifeboat crew were informed by the two occupants, who also had two dogs onboard, that the vessel had suffered a failure of one engine and had lost steering. After a discussion, both occupants opted to remain with their vessel to await the next tide and arrange a commercial tow. After giving safety advice, the lifeboat was released from the incident and returned to station.

However, on Saturday morning, the lifeboat was launched again at 08:05am to the vessel which had now dragged its anchor in the force 6 winds and was 20 metres from the sea wall on the Sheppey side of The Swale opposite Ridham Dock.

The lifeboat arrived at 8:35am and the crew found the craft high and dry. The Sheppey Mobile Coastguard team in their mud rescue gear were also at the scene and the lifeboat stood by whilst they moved the motor cruisers anchor further down the mud bank towards the waterline.

The lifeboat remained at the scene until the casualty vessel refloated at around 11:15am, but due to problems with the motor cruiser’s winch the vessel was unable to pull on her anchor to gain deeper water. Therefore, a tow line was attached and the lifeboat took the craft under tow to a mooring off Conyer Creek from where the occupants were taken ashore by a RIB from the Swale Marina.

The lifeboat then returned to station arriving back at the boathouse at 1:15pm having been dealing with the incident for around five hours.

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