The volunteer crew from Barrow’s Lifeboat Station launched both of their lifeboats late last night in response to a Mayday call received from a vessel in Walney Channel.
The request for an immediate launch came from HM Coastguard in Holyhead at 10:10pm.
The information received was that a yacht in Walney Channel, close to Piel Island, had experienced engine trouble and the vessel’s tender, a small dinghy with one man on board, had broken free and was reported to be drifting out into Morecambe Bay.
The crew was paged and the inshore lifeboat, ‘Vision of Tamworth’ was launched at 10:20pm and began a search of the area.
The all-weather lifeboat, ‘Grace Dixon’ was then launched a short time later and both boats conducted an extensive search based on information being relayed to the Coastguard by the people on board the yacht and the man in the dinghy.
Flares were fired from the lifeboats and by local Coastguard units who were also in attendance, in order to illuminate the search area. At around 11pm, the casualty reported that he had drifted to the shore and was now on solid ground, but he was unsure of his exact position.
At 11:20pm the crew of the ‘Vision of Tamworth’ radioed to say that they had located the casualty at the southern end of Foulney Island. At 11:35pm the casualty, who was uninjured, and his dinghy were returned safely back to the yacht.
It then transpired that the original problem experienced by the yacht was caused by a rope fouling its propeller and in order to ensure that the yacht was left in a safe condition for the night it was secured to a mooring just east of Piel Island.
At 1am this morning, after two call-outs in under twelve hours, the lifeboats returned to the lifeboat station at Roa Island where they were cleaned and made ready for the next launch.
The wind at the time of the incident was north-westerly, Force 4-5, and the high tide was at 12:56am with a height of 9.1 metres.