At 19:02 on Saturday evening 15th July, UK Coastguard paged Porthcawl RNLI volunteer crew to go to the aid of a small boat with engine problems. With a strong incoming tide the two persons on board the casualty had decided to beach the craft at Southerndown.
Both Porthcawl lifeboats were launched with a total of seven crew. When they arrived on scene they found the casualty craft on the sand with the two persons safely on the beach. Following discussions between the lifeboat crew and Llantwit Major Coastguard Unit, who were also in attendance, a decision was made to attempt to re-float the casualty. With the RNLI ‘D’ class lifeboat, ‘Jean Ryall’, able to operate in shallow water a tow line was used to take the casualty boat off the beach and into deep water.
Crew member Chris Page said, ‘Weather conditions were deteriorating throughout the callout, the thick drizzle and mist brought visibility down to about a quarter of a mile and the wind gusted up to Force 7. During our tow off the beach we had to manoeuvre through breaking waves up to six feet high. Once out beyond the breakers we were able to transfer the tow over to our larger Atlantic 85 lifeboat, Rose of the Shires. Unfortunately during the tow to Porthcawl the rough conditions caused the tow line to break twice off Ogmore by Sea’,
Deputy Launch Authority at Porthcawl, Aileen Jones MBE said, ‘The casualties, who sailed out of Cardiff, were planning to do some fishing in the Bristol Channel and stop overnight at Porthcawl Marina. With the worsening weather conditions beaching their boat meant they were safe but if we had not been able to tow their boat off the beach it would have been wrecked as the incoming tide would have smashed it onto the rocky shoreline. With our crews at sea for two hours in worsening conditions we were relieved that both the casualties and our crews were safe’.
Llantwit Coastguard Unit transported the two casualties to Porthcawl by road whilst lifeboat crews secured their boat in the marina before returning to station.