Multiple boat breakdowns sparks RNLI lifejacket plea

The Littlehampton RNLI
The Littlehampton RNLI

The RNLI has urged boaters to wear lifejackets after helping several broken-down vessels.

On Saturday and Sunday, Littlehampton’s lifeboats were involved in three separate incidents.

At around 12.15pm on Saturday, June 23, Littlehampton RNLI’s Atlantic D Class Ray of Hope lifeboat and volunteer crew launched in response to a call from the UK Coastguard to assist a fishing vessel with three people on board.

The skipper had made a VHF radio call, reporting engine failure due to a flat battery, stating they were four miles south of Littlehampton Harbour. Weather conditions were good with a force four wind. At the scene the lifeboat crew rigged a tow line to the casualty in readiness for its return to the Littlehampton Marina, where it was safely moored at 1.20pm. The lifeboat returned to the station.

During Saturday afternoon a second call from the UK Coastguard was received requesting a search and tow operation for a fishing vessel, reported to be three miles south of Elmer that had broken down and was drifting on the tide without any power.

The stations Atlantic 85 Renée Sherman and volunteer crew launched at around 3pm and headed out to sea. The lifeboat crew were initially unable to locate the casualty. Following further VHF radio contact with the UK Coastguard a revised location of two miles south of Littlehampton and Middleton was given.

The casualty with two male adults on board were found by the lifeboat crew and a tow line was rigged up. The casualty was towed back to Littlehampton Town Quay, where it was safely moored. The lifeboat returned to the station at 5.00pm.

At 3pm on Sunday, June 24, while on training exercise, the crew of the stations Atlantic 85 Renée Sherman were alerted by one of the two males onboard a speed boat that had apparently suffered engine failure and was unable to get back to its moorings and was drifting at the entrance to the harbour. The lifeboat towed the casualty back into Littlehampton Harbour and then returned to the station at 3.25pm, where it was made ready for service.

A RNLI spokesman said: “If you are planning to go sailing/motor boating, please always wear a lifejacket or buoyancy aid, ensure everyone onboard knows how to call for help, get appropriate training and check your engine and fuel before every trip.”