Poole RNLI inshore lifeboat crew launched to a boat that would not float

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Poole RNLI inshore lifeboat Sgt Bob Martin No 50 (Credit Rob Inett- Poole RNLI )

Date: 31/07/2011

Author: Anne-Marie Clark, Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer

Poole RNLI inshore lifeboat launched this afternoon (Sunday July 31) to a vessel, an 18ft fletcher which was taking on water with four people onboard near to Aunt Betty buoy, which is the main cardinal buoy near to the fuel barge, just over halfway up Poole harbour .

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Whilst the lifeboat was on route, the vessel sank putting all the people onboard in the water.Fortunately for the casualties the crew of a passing Sunseeker witnessed the incident, raised the alarm and got them out of the water.

When the inshore lifeboat arrived on scene, the four people had been recovered by the luxury motor boat nearby and the vigilant, the Poole harbour patrol vessel, had got a line onto the vessel and was towing it to a nearby mooring.

The inshore lifeboat crew volunteers went immediately to the casualties and put a volunteer crewman onboard to assess their condition. The crewman decided that even though they had only been in the sea for 2 -3 minutes, they had swallowed some water, so he asked for an ambulance to attend the lifeboat station

It seemed that the vessel had got swamped as it was following another boat , it had hit its wake and water had poured over the bow, submerging the vessel. The sheer volume of water onboard made it near impossible to pump out because the water just kept coming back in over the sides. The four people onboard were fortunate that someone was there on scene to witness it and help them out as none of them were wearing lifejackets.

The Vigilant meanwhile continued towing the boat as when it stopped the boat immediately sunk and went down.

The inshore lifeboat swiftly landed the casualties back to the station where the ambulance crew met them and checked them over. The inshore lifeboat then returned to meet the Vigilant and took over the tow.

Even though the salvage pump was running at full pelt, the vessel continued to go down, it was a thankless task. The volunteer crew decided to head for the nearest mud shoal off Parkstone, where they beached the boat and continued to pump. Some other crew from the lifeboat station launched the small boarding boat with the salvage pump from the all-weather lifeboat. After a concerted effort by the lifeboat crews manning the big salvage pump and after 3 hours of pumping since the vessel got swamped, it was deemed safe to be taken back to the boathouse.

The casualties had been thoroughly checked over by the paramedics, given a change of dry clothes and hot drinks to warm them up. The crew then towed the stricken vessel back to Cobbs quay, the casualties were dropped round by road and reunited with their vessel.

The inshore lifeboat returned back to station

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