Latest News, Poole | Posted: Monday, June 1st, 2020 at 2:44 pm | return to news

Mayday mayhem as Poole lifeboats cope with calls on last day of May

Both Poole lifeboats were launched at 1.30pm on Sunday 31 May by UK Coastguard following a Mayday call from a six-metre speedboat with four people on-board. And this was just the start of a very hectic day.

Poole lifeboats were kept busy on the last day of May
Poole lifeboats were kept busy on the last day of May

Wearing PPE, the lifeboat crew made their way through the busy harbour and found the speedboat, which was taking on water just off Sandbanks. A lifeboat crewmember was transferred across with a salvage pump.

At the same time three people on a dory with an outboard, shouted for help, so the lifeboat helm requested the D Class to assist. Then, leaving the crewman with the salvage pump to continue to pump water from the stricken vessel, the Atlantic went to the dory and pulled it clear from the surf, putting it ‘at anchor’, secure for the D Class to assist.

The Atlantic returned to the speedboat and towed it to Cobbs Quay, pumping and bailing out water. The Coastguard called ahead to arrange an emergency lift and on arrival the vessel was lifted out and made safe.

Meanwhile, the D Class had taken the broken down dory under tow and was heading from Sandbanks into the harbour when the coastguard redeployed it to go to a sinking jet ski in Studland Bay. The D Class crew secured the dory to a mooring at North Haven.

The jet ski with two people on board was reported to be taking on water at South Beach. On arrival the lifeboat crew checked that the jet skiers were okay and took the jet ski ashore to Knoll Beach and left one person with it. The other was taken back to Baiter Slipway to retrieve his vehicle. Then, the D class was asked to help the Atlantic.

The Coastguard had requested the Atlantic departing Cobbs Quay to pick up the tow, which they did, but almost immediately they had to drop the dory off on a secure buoy as the lifeboat was re-tasked to an inflatable with four adults and four children onboard who were perilously drifting in the main channel near Bell Buoy. This is the main route for all shipping and vessels and a very dangerous place to be on an inflatable.

The Atlantic helped by the D Class, distributed the people into the lifeboats, and towed the inflatable back to the beach. Poole Coastguard rescue team were on the shore to meet them with some safety messages to share.

The lifeboat returned to help the dory, but it had managed to get a tow from a friend and was back to Cobbs Quay.

The lifeboat crew wearily headed back, and the boats were made ready for service by 5.30pm. Just after 8pm the pagers rang out again and the lifeboat was requested to launch in response to another Mayday as a 17-foot speedboat was sinking in Poole harbour.

The lifeboat crew were soon on scene, just off Stakes Buoy, and the passing vessel that had raised the alarm, had recovered the people from the water.

The casualties were transferred to the lifeboat and they were none the worse for their ordeal. Their boat however was underwater, with just the bow showing. The lifeboat took the semi submerged boat under tow to Baiter Slipway.

The casualties were landed ashore and the crew helped to bail out the water and put the boat on its trailer. When all was safe and secure, the lifeboat returned to its station.

Volunteer helm Alex Evans said, “With the weather set fair for the next few days and easing of the lockdown, we would ask anyone heading out on the water or to the beach to please follow the RNLI safety advice.”

1. Have a plan – check the weather forecast, tide times and read local hazard signage

2. Keep a close eye on your family – on the beach and in the water

3. Don’t allow your family to swim alone

4. Wear a lifejacket or buoyancy aid

5. Have a means to call for help

6. Don’t use inflatables

7. If you fall into the water unexpectedly, fight your instinct to thrash around, lean back, extend your arms and legs, and float.

And there will be occasions when things don’t go to plan and you will need help, or you may see someone that’s in difficulty – dial 999 and ask for the Coastguard.

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