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Urgent Pan Pan distress call prompts Bembridge RNLI lifeboat launch

Lifeboats News Release

The relief Tamar class lifeboat, 'Frank and Anne Wilkinson' was launched at around 11.40am on Saturday 19 August in response to a Pan Pan distress call from a 35 foot sailing yacht 'Celidh Mohr'.

RNLI/Mike Samuelson

Track of RNLB Frank and Anne Wilkinson - 19 August 2017
The yacht, with two people onboard, had developed steering problems about three miles north of the lifeboat station's offshore boathouse.

It did not take long for the Frank and Anne Wilkinson lifeboat to reach the Celidh Mohr and establish a tow back to her home port of Chichester.
Arrangements were also made for the independent Hayling Rescue boat to meet them at the entrance of the harbour. After recovering the drogue anchor that had been deployed to keep the Celidh Mohr in a straight line behind the lifeboat, Hayling Rescue took over the tow for the final leg back to her mooring just inside the harbour entrance.

The Frank and Anne Wilkinson was on her way back to Bembridge when at around 1.10pm the UK Coastguard requested the launch of the D-class lifeboat, Norman Harvey, to assist a 20 foot open powerboat Bene with five people onboard that had broken down just off Forelands close to the Bembridge Ledge.

However, prior to the Norman Harvey being launched it was decided to re-task the crew of the Frank and Anne Wilkinson instead as she was, by that time, not far away. The volunteer crew arrived on scene at the same time as a passing Rigid Inflatable Boat (RIB) from Bembridge, named Water Pistol. Because the tide was dropping quickly and the Frank and Anne Wilkinson would not have been able to get into the harbour, the owner of the RIB kindly agreed to tow Bene back to Bembridge.

Having escorted them until they were clear of the Bembridge Ledge, the Frank and Anne Wilkinson then returned to the lifeboat station and was recovered by 2.30pm.

RNLI media contacts

  • Mike Samuelson, Bembridge RNLI volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer, on 07785 593254 or mikesam06@gmail.com
  • Tim Ash, RNLI Public Relations Manager (London/East/South East) on 0207 6207426, 07785 296252 tim_ash@rnli.org.uk
  • Paul Dunt, RNLI Press Officer (London/East/South East) on 0207 6207416, 07786 668825, paul_dunt@rnli.org.uk
  • For enquiries outside normal business hours, contact the RNLI duty press officer on 01202 336789

Key facts about the RNLI

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is the charity that saves lives at sea. Our volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service in the United Kingdom and Ireland from 238 lifeboat stations, including four along the River Thames and inland lifeboat stations at Loch Ness, Lough Derg, Enniskillen and Lough Ree. Additionally the RNLI has more than 1,000 lifeguards on over 240 beaches around the UK and operates a specialist flood rescue team, which can respond anywhere across the UK and Ireland when inland flooding puts lives at risk.

The RNLI relies on public donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. As a charity it is separate from, but works alongside, government-controlled and funded coastguard services. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824 our lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved at least 140,000 lives. Volunteers make up 95% of the charity, including 4,600 volunteer lifeboat crew members and 3,000 volunteer shore crew. Additionally, tens of thousands of other dedicated volunteers raise funds and awareness, give safety advice, and help in our museums, shops and offices.

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Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

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The RNLI is a charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SC037736). Charity number 20003326 in the Republic of Ireland

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