Burnham-On-Sea, Somerset

Published: July 13, 2008
Coastguards called to help yachtsman after he runs aground at Berrow

Two lifeboats and a Burnham rescue hovercraft were launched on Saturday evening (July 12th) amid concern for the safety of a man onboard a yacht that had run aground on the mudflats at Berrow.

Coastguards were alerted when the 23ft yacht, called Reds, ran aground on the falling tide, leaving a 40-year-old man stranded onboard.

Burnham's Light Of Elizabeth hovercraft, operated by rescue charity BARB, was launched [see video] to help Coastguards to check on the man's condition and assess whether he would be able to safely refloat his vessel on the next high tide overnight.

The yachtsman was understood to be sailing from Cardiff to Norfolk when he went aground on Saturday at approximately 5pm.

Coastguard Officer Steve Bird told Burnham-On-Sea.com: "Strong onshore winds blew the yacht aground on Saturday evening during rough sea conditions and there was concern for his safety. The hovercraft was once again very useful in helping us deal with the incident out on the mudflats."

Two RNLI lifeboats from Burnham were re-launched at 11.15pm on Saturday evening to help the yachtsman launch the vessel on the incoming tide.

When the lifeboats reached the casualty, however, the owner was still having difficulties so the crew of the lifeboat 'Forever Forward Denise' attached a towing line to the vessel, and put a crewmember on board to help.

The 'Staines Whitfield' lifeboat was then able to refloat the yacht, and tow it to the safety of Burnham Sailing Club pontoons.

Both lifeboats were recovered at 1.20am on Sunday morning, and the volunteer crewmembers finally left the lifeboat station at 2.35am. Lifeboat Operations Manager Ricky Holmes said: "The crew performed extremely well with a text book shout situation in the dark with moderate breeze, choppy sea and intermittent rain showers."


BBC Online coverage of this incident [External link]
Burnham-On-Sea Coastguard Web site
Burnham-On-Sea Hovercraft Web site
Burnham-On-Sea RNLI Web site


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