Boat brought to safety after capsize fears off Exmouth

PUBLISHED: 13:26 20 December 2011

Archant

Exmouth RNLI was called to rescue a fishing vessel after the skipper put out a mayday call, saying the boat was on the verge of capsizing

Fears a fishing vessel was about to capsize with three people onboard sparked a rescue mission by Exmouth RNLI.

The 39-foot boat was on Monday morning five miles off Straight Point when the skipper put out the distress call, saying the vessel was ‘potentially going over’, before communications were lost.

When the all-weather lifeboat crew arrived they found the stricken vessel had righted itself but the engine would not start because it had taken on water.

Exmouth lifeboat operations manager Kevin Riley said the risk of those onbaord drowning would have been high had the boat capsized.

Mr Riley said: “It was potentially a very serious incident. Thankfully the boat did not rollover.

“Although it was a moderate sea at the time, the risk due to cold water shock and drowning would have been high if the vessel had of sank.

“Another plus was that the fishing vessel the Sarah Jane was in the vicinity and responded, but they had fishing gear down so it involved recovery of the gear before they could proceed to help.

“Undoubtedly the fact that the skipper got a call out for assistance so promptly when faced with the threat allowed the coastguard to task Exmouth all-weather lifeboat promptly, which would have counted had the situation deteriorated.”

The all-weather lifeboat Margaret Jean was launched at 11.22 am.

Standing by the stricken vessel was the Sarah Jane, whose crew helped locate some of the equipment that had been lost overboard during the near capsize.

After several attempts the lifeboat crew successfully started the stricken vessel’s engines before escorting the boat back to Torbay.

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