Barrow Lifeboat Station’s volunteer crew launched their all-weather lifeboat this evening to go to the aid of a yacht which was drifting in heavy seas off Walney Island.
The request for assistance came from the HM Coastguard base in Holyhead, at 6-00pm this evening. HM Coastguard had been contacted with information that an unmanned 21-foot (6.4 metre) yacht had broken free from its mooring close to the Roa Island Boat Club. The vessel was now drifting approximately two and a half miles due south of Walney Island and because it posed a hazard to other shipping, HM Coastguard tasked the lifeboat crew to attempt to retrieve it.
The crew was paged and after considering the weather conditions, the decision was made to launch the all-weather lifeboat, ‘Grace Dixon’. The Coxswain, Shaun Charnley, was assisted by six crew. The lifeboat headed to the scene and despite the challenging conditions with a 4-5 metre swell, it was alongside the casualty vessel shortly before 7-00pm. With the casualty vessel unmanned it made it more difficult for the lifeboat crew to attach a tow line. Nevertheless, they succeeded in doing so and took the casualty under tow towards Roa Island. By 8-45pm, the lifeboat crew had secured the casualty safely to the RNLI’s mooring in Walney Channel.
The lifeboat returned to the boathouse at 9-00pm where it was washed down and made ready for the next launch.
The wind at the time of the incident was westerly, Force 7-8 (fresh gale), and the high tide had been at 3-51pm with a height of 8.9 metres.