Four RNLI lifeboats launch in fog to broken down craft resulting in three-hour rescue mission

Image by Dave Cocks (RNLI)
Image by Dave Cocks (RNLI)

A wayward leisure cruiser which broke down in thick fog resulted in four RNLI lifeboats being involved in a search and rescue mission which lasted almost three hours.

The two men on board the cruiser called UK Coastguard just before 10pm on Monday June 24 to say the had engine problems and were drifting in thick fog.

Without proper navigation equipment, they were only able to report that they could see ‘a small village with a pier’ through the fog, from which UK Coastguard deduced that the craft was somewhere in the vicinity of Saltburn or Skinningrove.

The RNLI lifeboats from Redcar and Staithes were launched just after 10pm to search for the cruiser.

At 10.15pm the Redcar lifeboat found the craft in breaking surf near Saltburn pier.

Dave Cocks, Lifeboat Operations Manager at Redcar RNLI said: "The cruiser had sufficient engine power to get out of the surf, guided by the lifeboat. Once it was clear we put a crew member on board.

"The craft was around 14-metres-long and it was struggling to make headway because of the engine problems, so our crew decided to rig a tow to get to Hartlepool."

The RNLI all-weather and inshore lifeboats were launched from Hartlepool to take over the tow and at 12.45am the cruiser was met by UK Coastguard teams in Hartlepool marina.

Dave added: "Unfortunately the crew of the leisure cruiser were not adequately equipped or experience for the conditions they found themselves in. The only had a mobile telephone to raise the alarm with, which meant our lifeboat crews were unable to use radio direction-finding equipment to locate them.

"It seems their navigation skills were only basic which meant that, in the poor visibility we had last night, they ended up in a perilous position in the surf at Saltburn, very close to the pier.

"I would encourage anyone who plans to go to sea on a boat to seek advice on what equipment and training they should have to enjoy their time at sea while staying safe.

"There’s a lot of excellent information on the RNLI website at rnli.org."