IT was a very busy end of the month for the RNLI rescue services based at Holyhead, Llandudno, Beaumaris and Rhyl.
Rhyl lifeguards, lifeboats and coastguard services had a busy three hours on Friday (July 31).
The Inshore lifeboat had four ‘shouts’, the all-weather lifeboat one ‘shout’ and the RNLI lifeguards and coastguards were kept busy with numerous incidents on the beaches of Rhyl and Prestatyn, including lost children and inflatables being blown out to sea.
The inshore lifeboat was mainly launched to inflatables being taken out to sea by the offshore wind and the ebbing tide. On each occasion, there was no-one on the inflatable, so a search of the local area was undertaken to see if any person had fallen out. The RNLI lifeguards and Coastguards were also deployed to check beaches to see if anyone was reported missing. Luckily, the inflatables’ owners were found and confirmed that no-one was missing.
The all-weather lifeboat was also required to locate a small day boat which had called UK coastguard at Holyhead, to say their engine had broken down just to the South-East of the Rhyl Flats wind farm, the most easterly of the farms off North-East Wales. The boat and its occupants were located and towed back to their launch site at Prestatyn. The inshore lifeboat also re-launched to take over the tow back to the beach.
Martin Jones, Coxswain at Rhyl lifeboat station said ‘ Luckily, there were no occupants on the inflatables, as in today’s offshore wind and ebb tide, they can be carried out over half a mile in minutes. If you are in this situation, it is better to stay on the inflatable until help arrives. Inflatables are not meant for open waters such as the sea’.
Then there was a double rescue for Holyhead RNLI. The initial request from the UK Coastguard reported a 34ft yacht, with two people on board, suffering engine failure between the end of Holyhead Breakwater and North Stack.
The volunteer crew launched D-class lifeboat ‘Mary and Archie Hooper; and on arrival at the location, quickly established a tow and headed back to the Holyhead harbour area.
As they were en route back to the harbour, heading to a mooring, the crew were then asked by the coastguard to head to another part of the coast, where a pair of paddleboarders – an adult and a child – were drifting out to sea from Penrhos beach.
The lifeboat crew quickly placed the stricken yacht onto a mooring and headed immediately to the Penrhos area.
The Beaumaris RNLI lifeboat Annette Mary Liddington was launched to assist a 30 ft yacht aground at Aber Menai point,
The craft had two adults and two children and a dog aboard having set off from the slipway at Menai Bridge.
The lifeboat towed the boat back to her launching slipway at Menai Bridge, the Penmon mobile coastguard rescue team had been requested to attend to assist with recovery of the craft from the water.
Finally, Llandudno’s RNLI inshore lifeboat Dr Barbara Saunderson with a volunteer crew of four were tasked to assist a small fishing boat anchored off Llandudno Pier, where it had suffered mechanical failure. With the assistance of a crew member, the fisherman was able to restart his boat and make a gradual return to a safe mooring at Deganwy Marina.
Later a survey vessel working in Liverpool Bay had observed a vessel without navigation lights and had reported their concern to the HM Coastguard. The Llandudno Lifeboat was launched again and proceeded to locate the vessel which was found six miles north of the Great Orme. The twenty-six-foot pleasure craft was said to be heading from Rhyl to Beaumaris. A Llandudno crew member boarded the craft and found a single occupant dealing with a navigation lights failure. After the assessment, the Lifeboat Coxswain ascertained that it was safe for the vessel to continue its journey.