IT has been a busy month for the RNLI as the hot weather arrived. There were a number of incidents, which involved the launch of rescue boats along the Welsh coast.

On Sunday (Jul 14) the RNLI was called to three incidents along the coast.

In Pembrokeshire, RNLI lifeboats were called to sinking vessel with 23 people onboard. Two RNLI lifeboats from St Davids and Fishguard’s all-weather lifeboat were launched following a request from Milford Haven Coastguard. A passenger boat taking on water around three miles off St Davids’ Head had issued a Mayday.

St Davids’ Tamar and inshore RNLI lifeboats were launched at 7.18pm and arrived on scene within 10 minutes. Fishguard RNLI all-weather lifeboat was also launched.

The volunteer RNLI crew arrived to find two nearby vessels were already on scene and had evacuated all passengers. Crew members from the vessels were aboard the stricken vessel trying to bail out water, but the water was coming in extremely fast.

Dai John, RNLI Coxswain at St Davids said:

“We launched very quickly but were relieved to find all passengers had been safely evacuated. Two of the St Davids’ RNLI crew boarded the vessel with a salvage pump to bail out the water as fast as possible. The crew then secured a tow to the vessel and started an alongside tow for three miles journey from North Bishop Rock to St Justinian’s.

“Fishguard RNLI crew were also on scene with a salvage pump in case it was required. St Davids’ inshore lifeboat also assisted to help pull the vessel on to the beach.”

In Rhyl, a speedboat with five people on board called for rescue after leaving the Rhyl harbour for a fishing trip. Soon after the out-drive of the boat became entangled with the buoys and rope from a set of Whelk pots, about two miles directly out from the boathouse.

The skipper radioed the UK coastguard and spoke to the duty watch at Holyhead, who requested the All-weather lifeboat from Rhyl be launched, due to the number of people on board the craft.

The lifeboat was alerted at 9.00 am on Sunday July 14th, and was under way about 15 minutes later. The vessel was located both visually and with direction-finding equipment, which homed on to the VHF radio the skipper was carrying. The lifeboat was alongside about 10 minutes later, and a crew member was transferred to the casualty vessel.

The Rhyl all-weather lifeboat approaches the boat. Credit: RNLI/Paul Frost MBE

By attaching himself to the boat’s rails, the crew member was able to lean over the stern of the vessel, and was able to free the propeller by hand.
Once the casualty boat was free, the skipper was able to re-start his engine, and motor back to Rhyl harbour, escorted by the lifeboat, and the boat was recovered by Rhyl harbour master into the harbour compound.

RNLI crew member freeing ropes from propeller. Credit: RNLI/Paul Frost MBE

Coxswain Martin Jones said “This was a relatively straightforward service, and we were able to free the vessel quite quickly. All the casualty crew were very well equipped with lifejackets and means of calling for assistance”.

On the same day the RNLI lifeboat was launched in Mumbles to investigate a drifting boat.

The volunteer crew of the Mumbles lifeboat were called to the aid of a 25ft motorboat in Pwlldu Bay after a concerned member of the public spotted a boat thought to be drifting with no lights visible to any passing boats. The All weather lifeboat launched at 11:40 PM and was on scene within 15 minutes. The vessel was found to be safe and at anchor with no anchor light showing. The lifeboat returned to station following a brief conversation with the skipper who had forgotten to set his anchor light.

The lifeboat returning to the station. Credit: RNLI/Andy Miles

Deputy Second coxswain James Bolter said “We’re very grateful to the person that reported this as it could have resulted in a dangerous collision at sea. We were also mindful that this could have been a vessel adrift after losing its crew”.

On Thursday (Jul 11) the RNLI was called out to two incidents along the coast.

In Cardigan the RNLI lifeboat was launched to help two people trapped on a bank of the River Tivy. The D-class lifeboat ‘Elsie Ida Mead was launched at 6:30pm and the volunteer crew commenced a search of the bank along the River Tivy.

Both people were found, and although one of the party had been in the water up to their knees and they were both cold, they appeared to be well and were taken to safety by the lifeboat where HM Coastguard were waiting to provide any further assistance necessary.

In Port Talbot the lifeboat was called to assist a broken down vessel after it had reported engine problems off Aberavon beach. The vessel had just started out on a fishing trip, with two people on board, when the engine stopped just off the mouth of the River Afan. Attempts to restart the engine failed so the call was made to the coastguard for assistance.

The lifeboat setting off. Credit: RNLI/Mel Cooper

The lifeboat launched and was soon on scene and a tow was established. The vessel was then towed to the river slipway for recovery. Once all was well the lifeboat was stood down and returned to station.

On Tuesday (Jul 9) the Cardigan RNLI lifeboat was called out to help a 16ft fishing boat which was experiencing engine problems.

The alarm was raised by HM Coastguard at 3.51pm and the volunteer RNLI crew were once again on the scene within 15 minutes.

The fishing boat had lost power and was drifting between Cardigan Island and the mainland. Another boat, which was already in the area, stayed with the stricken vessel until the lifeboat arrived.

The Cardigan Atlantic lifeboat – Albatross

By the time the lifeboat reached the fishing boat, it’s crew had managed to restart their engines and the vessel was escorted back into the mooring at Patch by the RNLI lifeboat.

On Sunday (Jul 7) the Cardigan RNLI saved three people, including a young child, after their kayaks capsized at Mwnt.

The Cardigan Inshore Lifeboat were paged at 4:04pm following a call from HM Coastguard. On arrival at the scene it became apparent that the three people involved, two adults and one child had set off from the beach at Mwnt and after rounding a corner, the female in one kayak capsized when the male in the second kayak went to assist her unfortunately then capsized as well.

Both of the adults then made their way with the child onto rocks nearby where they were able to attract attention and raise the alarm.

Cardigan RNLI Inshore Lifeboat, Elsie Ida Mead. Credit RNLI

The three casualties were rescued from the rocks and taken to safety on the beach at Mwnt where HM Coastguard teams from Cardigan and Moylgrove were waiting to assist them.

This incident once again highlights the need for all people to be aware of the dangers of the tides and currents and to ensure they carry suitable safety equipment and correctly fitting lifejackets, as well as carry a means of calling for help and keep it within reach at all times.

In Newquay, RNLI volunteers were called to assist capsized kayaker on Thursday July 4.

Volunteers assisted a kayaker whose kayak took on water, and capsized. The man and his partner were assisted by two men who swam out to help, before the lifeboat crew landed him safely on Porth Beach.

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