Towed out of trouble

The Neva Pearl under tow on her way to the safety of Rye Harbour

At 10:06 on the morning of May 14, Rye Harbour’s RNLI volunteers responded to a coastguard request for deployment to aid the sixteen-foot cabin-cruiser Neva Pearl.

She was stranded some eight miles offshore in Rye Bay having suffered engine failure. Two people were reported to be aboard, but there were no casualties. The situation was carefully assessed, and it was decided to wait until the incoming tide for a launch of the station’s Atlantic 85 lifeboat Hello Herbie II direct from the harbour, rather than the more time-consuming low water launch from the beach.

In calm, but choppy, seas Neva Pearl was soon reached: she was well-equipped and her crew well-prepared for their fishing expedition. The cruiser was at anchor and by means of a chart plotter the exact position of the vessel was relayed to the lifeboat crew, removing the need for what could have been a lengthy and difficult search in the Bay.

Both the main and auxiliary engines had failed, one from fuel problems and the other from drive transmission problems. Stuart Clark, lifeboat helm, decided to put a crew-member, Matt Ellis, aboard Neva Pearl during the tow, and within forty-five minutes both vessels were safely at rest in Rye Harbour.

Matt commented: “This was a good example of how even a well-prepared trip to sea can go wrong; what are the chances of both engines failing?”

“Those on the cabin-cruiser did absolutely the right thing in calmly calling for help, and their ability to anchor and give an exact position made our job much more straightforward – and our push to continue as much training as possible over the past year of Covid-19 restrictions has certainly paid off in our drive to save lives at sea.”

Image Credits: Tim Brown .


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