Porthcawl RNLI’s volunteer crew launched both their inshore lifeboats early in the morning on Monday 21 August to a yacht which was aground at Llantwit Major Beach.
The yacht had made a distress call to HM Coastguard after it ran aground and was being battered within the surf.
Porthcawl’s volunteer RNLI crew were paged by the Coastguard at 5.48am and were requested to assess the situation and provide safety cover to Llantwit Major Coastguard Team. The charity’s Atlantic 85 lifeboat, Rose of the Shires was launched on service and made best speed to the location, over 9 nautical miles from Porthcawl. The charity’s relief D class, Peggy D was also requested to launch at 6.09am to provide further assistance due to its ability to operate closer inshore.
When the Atlantic 85 arrived on scene Helm, Chris Missen assessed the situation.
Chris said: ‘The yacht had one casualty aboard along with a Llantwit Major Coastguard Team member who had managed to climb aboard. The yacht was aground in the surfline and was being constantly rolled about by the surf. The waves were around 3ft with larger 4-5ft waves on sets. Once I’d assessed the situation my immediate concern was for the casualty aboard, so I decided to put two crew ashore to assist the Coastguard team in getting the casualty off the yacht and to safety ashore.
‘The Coastguard team member aboard the yacht alerted us to the fact that the casualty had become trapped beneath some loose items in the cockpit, they managed to free the casualty who was then helped to safety by our volunteer crew along with the other Coastguard team members.
‘One of our RNLI crew who had boarded the yacht to help get the casualty off did a quick assessment of the yacht and made an attempt to deploy the yacht’s anchor. Unfortunately they found that the yacht had sustained significant damage during the incident and was taking on water through its hull, which they suspected was due to damage sustained to its bilge keels. The anchor chain was jammed and could not be freed. As soon as the casualty was off the yacht the crew member and Coastguard team member got themselves to safety too as the yacht was still rolling heavily in the surf.
‘The casualty was visibly shaken by the incident but otherwise not seriously harmed and was checked over by paramedics in a waiting ambulance.
‘The D class crew recovered the two RNLI crew members from the shore and both lifeboats were then stood down from the incident and made their way back to the lifeboat station.’
Volunteer Launch Authority, Aileen Jones MBE said: ‘Our volunteer crew were woken early on Monday morning to the sound of their pagers and within minutes went from their beds and were out at sea on the lifeboats. When the pagers sound we never know what the call may be, but the crew are trained for all eventualities.
‘This call was a great example of teamwork between our volunteer crew and the Coastguard team and thankfully no serious harm came to the casualty onboard the yacht. Following the call our crew arrived back at the station at around 8am, just in time to start their working week having already been involved in the rescue of a casualty from a stricken yacht.’