VIDEO: Two people rescued from notoriously dangerous South Tail

The RNLI has issued footage of two people and their private fishing boat being rescued from the ‘notoriously dangerous South Tail’, Instow / Appledore (North Devon).

They’d been fishing in the channel near Middle Ridge Buoy. As they lifted their anchor it become entangled around their propeller, the boat lost power, their anchor dragged, and the tide pulled them quickly towards the danger area. Realising how potentially dangerous a situation they were in, they immediately called the coastguard for help. The shallow water on the South Tail creates breaking surf when the main channel can be almost flat.

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The inshore lifeboat boat was launched within minutes. Despite the closeness to the lifeboat station, by the time it reached the casualty the fishing boat had drifted onto the tail and into the breaking surf. This, says the RNLI, is a classic example of how quickly a situation can change and how a routine fishing trip can go horribly wrong, even though the fisherman were experienced and well equipped with a radio, lifejackets and a good boat.

Luckily with an easterly wind and good weather, the surf was running evenly. The lifeboat positioned itself to come in the lull between the surf, the volunteer crew threw the line and towed the boat out of the waves to safety, and then to the boat’s mooring at Instow.

“The fishermen did exactly the right thing to call the coastguard as soon as they realised they had a problem,” says the lifeboat Helm, Del Elesmore. “Had they left it until they were in the surf, the situation would have been more dangerous. That could have resulted in the fishing boat capsizing, or a casualty being washed overboard. They knew what to do and how to secure the tow so we did not have to attempt to put our crew on board in those conditions.”

Images courtesy of Appledore RNLI webcam and Niki Tait.

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