Stricken yacht drifting towards Sandbanks Ferry rescued by RNLI

Swanage Coastguard and Poole Lifeboat crew were quick to respond to a pan-pan radio call from a yacht that had lost all steerage as it approached the chain link ferry at Studland.

The lifeboat was asked to launch at 3.45 pm by the UK Coastguard to the incident on Saturday 23rd April 2022.

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RNLI rescue yacht gone aground at Shell Beach in Studland
RNLI/Poole

Another yacht attempted to help the stricken vessel

The vessel’s steering cable broke

Three people on board the 38ft yacht were in difficulty after the vessel’s steering cable broke as it headed towards the entrance of Poole Harbour and was now drifting into the path of the Sandbanks Ferry.

The crew issued a pan-pan radio call, which is sent when the situation is urgent but not as urgent as a mayday distress call.

The anchor was dropped but it couldn’t hold the yacht against the slight north easterly breeze, and it was pushed further ashore towards Shell Beach in Studland and became grounded.

RNLI rescue yacht gone aground at Shell Beach in Studland
RNLI/Poole

The yacht was grounded just off Shell Bay at Studland from where Swanage Coastguard monitored the rescue

Swanage Coastguard was able to monitor the rescue from the beach

Swanage Coastguard had been in the vicinity checking on a speed boat which had got caught on a five knot buoy, when it heard the pan-pan call over the radio.

Swanage Coastguard said:

“The patrol arrived on the scene to monitor and provide the operations room at Solent Coastguard with an update of what was happening.”

RNLI rescue yacht gone aground at Shell Beach in Studland
RNLI/Poole

The decision was made to tow the yacht into the safe haven of Poole Harbour

Another yacht tried to assist

As the Poole Lifeboat arrived, another vessel in the area, responding to the pan-pan call had attempted to assist but was unsuccessful.

Conditions were changing and with the wind freshening and more swell, the lifeboat volunteers decided to tow the yacht and crew back into Poole Harbour.

A towline was attached and the yacht was eased back afloat. The lifeboat then brought the yacht safely back to the Port of Poole Marina.

RNLI rescue yacht gone aground at Shell Beach in Studland
RNLI/Poole

The yachts being towed back to The Port of Poole Marina

“They did the right thing”

Poole RNLI volunteer helm Dave Riley said:

“It was an unfortunate incident for the yacht today and the steering cable broke at the worst possible moment as they approached the harbour entrance.

“They did the right thing in attempting to deploy an anchor and swiftly calling for help.”

It was an exceptionally busy weekend for the Poole Lifeboat crew who were tasked three times on that Saturday and then twice on the following Sunday, 24th April 2022.

Watch the RNLI rescue video

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