A yacht gets into trouble and requires assistance but it all goes wrong.
What the Reporter told us:
A yacht suffered engine problems while on passage and the skipper requested a tow from the mouth of the river to his berth at the yacht club. The club launched a rigid inflatable boat, (RIB), crewed and helmed by persons holding RYA Powerboat Level 2 and RYA Safety Boat certificates to perform the tow. A considerable swell in the entrance of the river had developed due to wind against the ebbing tide. This resulted in the RIB and the yacht being pulled apart and back together with quite some force. The RIB became swamped and subsequently capsized. The crew on the RIB entered the water, thus turning off the engine with the kill-cord. Following their training they climbed on top of the overturned craft which was still tied alongside the yacht.
The helmsman of the yacht made a mayday call to the local coastguard and all persons were rescued from the RIB. The RIB’s anchor had deployed upon capsizing so once the crew had been rescued from the overturned vessel the yacht helmsman released the RIB. However, due to continued engine problems the skipper had difficulty in making headway against the ebbing tide and deployed the anchor. This subsequently dragged, resulting in the yacht being beached on the shore. Rescue was safely coordinated by the rescue services stationed locally.
All persons were given first aid for hypothermia, and subsequently returned to the yacht club, where first aid observations continued. All persons, although wet and in shock, have made a full recovery from the incident.
It is important to recognise when there is an emergency and how to act accordingly. In this case, a position of relative safety rapidly became an emergency. This report demonstrates the importance of contacting the correct rescue organisation and in good time. The effective use of the “kill cord” undoubtedly shortened the rescue timespan, and is a very positive aspect of the report.
It was also noted that the reference to hypothermia might have been cold shock, which can necessitate separate treatment so expert assistance should always be sought.