RNLI Wells immediately launches a sinking speedboat with a man on board
HM Coastguard called RNLI Wells Coastal and All Weather Lifeboats for an immediate launch at 6.28am on May 16, after receiving a distress call from a person whose boat was sinking off Brancaster Golf Club, but the cell phone call was cut off in the middle of the conversation.
The Wells inshore lifeboat was launched at 6:40 a.m., followed by the all-weather lifeboat at 6:47 a.m., and both lifeboats headed for Brancaster.
At 7am the coast guard receives a new call from the skipper of the boat which has managed to swim the 100m ashore. He contacted them using the emergency phone outside the Brancaster Golf Club, saying he was fine, but his 16ft speedboat had sunk offshore.
The inshore lifeboat arrived on scene at 7.10am and met the skipper on the beach. The man was wet and cold but fine, and once he had confirmed the position of the sunken boat, the inshore lifeboat took him to the slipway at Brancaster Staithe, where he was met by the crew of coast guard waiting for him at 7:30.
The inshore rescue craft transmitted the position of the sunken craft to the all-weather lifeboat, which, en route to Brancaster Staithe, managed to mark its position using a life jacket attached to a mooring rope attached to the speedboat which was floating on the surface. .
The all-weather lifeboat was on scene at 7:28 a.m. and quickly located the sunken speedboat. The stern of the speedboat was on the seabed, as the boat was equipped with a powerful outboard; however, the hull’s internal buoyancy meant that the bow floated just below the surface of the water.
The speedboat was a navigational hazard where it lay, so when the inshore lifeboat came back alongside the all-weather lifeboat it was decided the crew would take a line on the speedboat and would try to tow it to the foreshore. Once the towline was secured, the all-weather lifeboat began towing to the beach, then towed the inshore rescue boat when the water began to become shallow. The inshore lifeboat successfully towed and beached the craft, then the crew was able to pull the speedboat further up the beach with each rolling swell, until it was high and dry.
With the speedboat safely on shore to allow for further recovery, and no longer a hazard, the two lifeboats left the scene at 8:30 a.m. and returned to the station.
The lifeboats were ashore outside the boathouse at 9:05 a.m. and were sanitized, relocated and refueled by 10 a.m.
Lifeboat operations manager Chris Hardy said ‘the crew all acted with great speed and diligence on hearing that there was a man in the water; fortunately the Brancaster Golf Club’s emergency phone enabled the skipper to quickly call the Coast Guard to let them know he was safe. This prevented unnecessary research and a feeling of relief that everything was fine. I am very proud of both lifeboat crews as they showed exceptional skill and seamanship today; that’s what we train for”.
The charity RNLI saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service along the coasts of the UK and the Republic of Ireland. The RNLI operates 238 lifeguard stations in the UK and Ireland and over 240 lifeguard units on beaches in the UK and the Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of the coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its lifesaving service. Since the RNLI’s inception in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved more than 142,700 lives.
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