Heavy squalls see the Wells lifeboat rescue three boats in rough seas
The Wells-next-the-Sea all-weather lifeboat was launched three times yesterday (Thursday 20 July) as sudden squalls sent vessels running for cover to avoid the deteriorating conditions.
The RNLI’s Mersey class lifeboat Doris M Mann of Ampthill first went to the assistance of a 38ft Colvic cabin cruiser, Sea Mist, which had left Hull at just after 7am and had arrived at Wells Harbour approaches at around 2pm.
Skipper Richard Comrie, who was on board with his wife Christine, radioed for help when one of his two engines overheated and had to be shut down. This made the boat difficult to manoeuvre as he tried to cross the bar into Wells Harbour.
‘The conditions deteriorated rapidly when we were between ten and fifteen miles off. Wells,’ said Richard. ‘The wind got up and it became very squally with rough seas. The boat doesn’t handle well on just one engine, so when it became rough, I needed to radio for help from the RNLI to come and tow me in.’
The couple also nearly lost their dinghy, which was strapped to the stern. ‘The sea was washing over the boat and the dinghy just disappeared’ said Christine. ‘Luckily, it stayed attached to the boat.’ The RNLI lifeboat and its volunteer crew were able to attach a line and tow the boat back to the pontoon at the quay at Wells.
Later in the day the Wells lifeboat went to sea again after a call from the 65ft barge Sabena H which had an elderly couple on board with a combined aged of one hundred and forty. The couple were caught in heavy seas off Salthouse and had been making little progress against the westerly wind. The all-weather lifeboat towed them into Wells.
Then a third vessel, the 22ft yacht Mera Monte, suffered an engine failure and all her communications equipment packed up. She managed to raise the alarm on a mobile phone before that too stopped working. The vessel was reported to be ten miles north of Wells and ten miles east of Skegness.
The Skegness RNLI lifeboat launched to go to the Mera Monte’s rescue and located her at 5.58pm and towed to the approaches of Wells harbour where she was met by the Wells RNLI lifeboat. It was touch and go but the Wells lifeboat just managed to beat the falling tide and tow her into the outer harbour at 7.40pm.
All three vessels were put onto safe moorings in the harbour
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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 237 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 180 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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Key facts about the RNLI
The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates over 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.