The crews of both of Rhyl's lifeboats were called out to two incidents which resulted in the All-weather lifeboat being at sea for nearly seven hours on Tuesday 23 September.
The first call was after a passing jet-skier came across an empty inflatable dinghy about three miles off Rhyl. The dinghy had a fishing rod, a bottle of coca-cola, and a flip-flop in it, with the fishing line still in the water. the All-weather lifeboat launched intitially, and was followed up by the rescue helicopter from RAF valley, the Inshore lifeboat, and numerous vessels from the surrounding wind farms. The local coastguard teams from Rhyl and Flint were also mobilised. This multi-agency search was co-ordinated by holyhead coastguard. A major search was undertaken ( see attached screen shot of the lifeboat's track from www.marinetraffic.com). The search was undertaken up to three miles out, between Abergele and Talacre, by various units. The search was heightened after a member of the public phoned Holyhead Coastguard, reporting a person saying they had come out of the sea, but this resulted in no success. The search continued, until the area had been comprehensively covered by sea,land and air units. The search was called off after four hours with nothing being found.
As the All-weather lifeboat was waiting for recovery, the crew heard a MAYDAY on the marine calling channel. The position given for the vessel in trouble was about 7 miles out from Rhyl, and so the lifeboat proceeded at full speed. The casualty was a yacht with two on board, who had suffered sail failure in a squall, and the engine would not start. Other wind farm vessels stood by until the lifeboat arrived. The yacht was headed for Liverpool, and so Rhyl lifeboat started a tow towards the River Mersey. The coxswain of Rhyl Lifeboat then asked for the tow to be taken over by Hoylake Lifeboat, as it was towards their area. Hoylake launched, and the tow was transferred at the entrance to the channel leading to the River, and then Rhyl lifeboat returned to station at 6pm, some 7 hours after launching.
And to top it all, showing the dedication of Rhyl's volunteer crews, the lifeboat was launched on a scheduled exercise one hour later ( but with a fresh crew!)
The photos show the track of Rhyl lifeboat from the search area to the MAYDAY yacht to the East, the dinghy from the first call-out and the helicopter searching, also the yacht under tow and transferring to Hoylake lifeboat at the entrance to the River Mersey.
Coxswain Martin Jones, who was in command for the whole time said " The crew, although being out for seven hours, proved their dedication to the RNLI and Rhyl lifeboat in particular. I am very proud of all the crew who were involved today. There were some very inexperienced crew on the lifeboat, but they came through with flying colours"
Paul Frost, Rhyl lifeboat Press officer, is away from 24 September to 1 October, so please direct any enquiries to Coxswain Martin Jones at the boathouse on 01745 344040