The crew of the Sandbanks Ferry had to lower the ramp in mid passage to prevent a 16 foot sailing boat, that had become pinned against its side, from getting into further danger.
The incident happened just after 5 pm on Wednesday 21st July 2021 at the mouth of Poole Harbour, where the ferry crosses from Studland to Sandbanks in Dorset. Conditions were good, very warm and calm.
The Cornish shrimper had two people on board
Both of the Poole Lifeboats were launched to rescue the Cornish shrimper that had two people on board. There was concern that the crew may have been injured when an earlier rescue attempt had damaged the rigging causing the mast to fall onto the occupants.
The Atlantic lifeboat arrived on the scene first and transferred two of its crew members on board the chain ferry to check on the casualties.
“Put the ramp down further to try and trap the boat”
Poole Lifeboat Station reported:
“The stricken vessel was going under the ferry lifting ramp, when with quick thinking by the ferry operator, they put the ramp down further to try and trap the boat, which it did. Then the ferry crew helped to get the two people off and safely on board the ferry. They were shaken but okay.”
With Poole’s D class lifeboat now also on the scene, the situation was assessed to see how best the shrimper boat could be retrieved.
The Sandbanks Ferry was on the Studland side and with the tide coming in, the boat was pinned on the seaward side.
“The shrimper popped out like a cork”
Poole Lifeboat Station continued:
“The lifeboat crew asked the chain ferry captain to lift the ramp to release the vessel. The D class lifeboat was standing by, down tide.
“The shrimper popped out like a cork and drifted off, freed with the tide. The D class was in position and caught it and then took it back under tow to Parkstone Bay Marina.”
The two people who’d been rescued, were then taken on the Atlantic lifeboat to Parkstone Bay Marina to be reunited with their vessel.
This allowed the Sandbanks Ferry to resume its service and the lifeboats to return to Poole Lifeboat Station.