Scarborough RNLI was called out to a man who had fallen overboard from a boat called Don’t Panic yesterday (Sunday July 28).
In a joint rescue operation, a Sea King helicopter which happened to be in the area on exercise winched the casualty from the sea.
The angling vessel was five miles north of Scarborough when the man fell in the sea.
He was unable to clamber back into the boat and the only other person aboard couldn’t pull him in and wasn’t used to being at sea.
But he lived up to the boat’s name by managing to operate the radio and giving a rough location to the Humber coastguard, who broadcast a request for help.
Several other local vessels joined the search by homing in on Don’t Panic’s radio transmissions. A crew member was winched down to pluck the man from the sea.
The man’s friend was taken aboard the lifeboat while crewman Craig Burnett took control of the beleaguered boat and lowered its sails so it could be towed back to the harbour.
Lifeboat helmsman Rudi Barman said the man was lucky to be alive when he was rescued.
“He was fortunate the helicopter was there,” said Mr Barman. “We heard he was in a bad way and his friend was pretty shaken up too.”
Although the sea was calm, there was a strong wind, he said. “Their boat was being blown straight out to sea and would have had difficulty returning to harbour”, Mr Barman added.
He stressed that it was critical that vessels should be fit for purpose before heading to sea, with all the right equipment.
Humber coastguard watch assistant Clive Stephenson added: “The remaining crew member on board the Don’t Panic did an excellent job to help his colleague, in spite of his limited knowledge of radio distress procedures and the vessel’s position.
“A speedy response from vessels in the area, the RAF helicopter and the RNLI lifeboat contributed to a successful rescue.
“When venturing to sea, it is essential to have a working knowledge of maritime communications and to know your position at all times.
“In an emergency you will rely on these two vital skills to ensure a swift rescue.”