Posted: 3 October 2020

Dart RNLI Atlantic 85 called to three large vessels in a week

Photo: Andy Kyle
Dart RNLI volunteers helping the crew of a dismasted yacht

RNLI Dart News update 30 Sept 2020
The decision of the RNLI Trustees to permanently station an Atlantic 85 on the River Dart is already paying for itself.
Launch 451. On Saturday 19 September the Dart volunteers were able to respond in the Atlantic lifeboat to a Mayday call from a 33ft yacht with three onboard as they crossed the Skerries bank in Start Bay in 25knot winds and a two metre swell. They were able to reach the three uninjured yachtsmen very quickly, aided by their VHF radio direction finding capabilities, but the tow back against the wind and sea took an hour and three quarters.
Launch 542 The following day a single handed sailor on a 45ft yacht requested help in the same area when he suffered engine failure and was unable to make progress under sail. The yacht was towed to Dartmouth Harbour.
Launch 453 Exactly a week later a 45ft motor vessel struck a rock as it left the Dart estuary and started to take on water. It needed all the power of the Atlantic 85 to tow her quickly to Darthaven marina where she was lifted out of the water and the damage was assessed.
If these three incidents had occurred when there was only a D class inflatable lifeboat available the Coastguard would have had to task the all-weather Salcombe Tamar lifeboat to come from round Start Point. The Atlantic 85 was able to quickly respond to the vessel taking on water whereas; even at a top speed of 25knots, it would have taken some time for the Tamar to reach her. It is also considerably more expensive for the RNLI to launch an all-weather lifeboat than the B class.
For more photos and details of all launches please look on this website.

Saving Lives at Sea.
Launch 310. Episode 3 of the new series highlights the RNLI lifeguards on Blackpool Sands working with the Dart lifeboat crew to help an injured swimmer. The episode is at a different time from the first two. It is on BBC 2 at 8pm on Tuesday 6 October. The date of the further episodes has not yet been released.

John Fenton
RNLI Dart Lifeboat press officer.

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