The RNLI has highlighted the dangers its volunteers face after two members of its Brighton crew were taken to hospital following a rescue yesterday (May 2).
One of the lifeboat volunteers ended up with a possible cracked rib, while the other was uninjured.
The lifeboat crew at Brighton was called out to rescue the skipper of a stricken 31ft yacht at 8.30am. There was one crew member on board, and the yacht had suffered an engine failure, the RNLI said.
Brighton volunteers launched the inshore Atlantic 85 lifeboat in seas that were 'increasingly rough'.
The RNLI said at the time of launching the wind speed was Force 5 to 6, but the Atlantic 85, although being an inshore lifeboat, can handle 'fairly challenging open sea conditions' up to Force 7.
But lifeboat volunteers said the yacht was too far north and began to drift into the surf line west of Brighton Marina.
The RNLI crew attempted to tow the yacht out of difficulty and put one crew member aboard the yacht to assist, but during the operation the tow line broke.
As a result of the line breaking the lifeboat volunteer on the yacht was thrown over, but was able to keep himself within the guard rails and wasn’t injured, the RNLI said.
But two crew members then 'fell heavily' against the A-frame of the lifeboat, the RNLI said, meaning they needed to attend hospital for a check up where one was discovered to have a possible cracked rib. The other was uninjured
The RNLI said the lifeboat was able to re-attach the tow and took the yacht into deeper waters, putting it in a safer position, before handing over the tow to the Shoreham all-weather lifeboat.
Once it was established that the yacht and its skipper were safe, the Brighton lifeboat was released to return to the boathouse when the two crew members were taken to the Royal Sussex County Hospital for check-ups.
Meanwhile the Shoreham lifeboat towed the yacht into Brighton Marina with the vessel and its skipper.
Roger Cohen, lifeboat operations manager at Brighton Lifeboat Station, said: "Well done to our volunteer crew after yesterday morning’s rescue. The seamanship and decisions made by the helmsman Daniel Gurr in this incident were exemplary. Unfortunately one crew member sustained injuries during this service call. Our crew don’t volunteer to be injured but unfortunately they often work in dangerous conditions and I wish him a speedy recovery.
"Our crews are on call 24/7 and when their pagers go off, they never know what they’re going to face. This is what our crews train for and what the charity equips them to do. The teamwork shown by the volunteer crews of Brighton and Shoreham was admirable and it’s a credit to them all that they were able to bring back the initial casualty into the safety of Brighton Marina in worsening conditions."