Morecambe’s volunteer RNLI lifeboat crew saves fishing boat from rocks

The fishing boat being towed to safety by Morecambes inshore lifeboat.
The fishing boat being towed to safety by Morecambes inshore lifeboat.

Morecambe’s RNLI inshore lifeboat launched, after a request from the Coastguard, to recover a fishing boat drifting toward rocks at Heysham.

At 1.30pm on Wednesday September 6, the Coastguard tasked the Morecambe RNLI volunteer lifeboat crew to go in search of a local fishing boat which had broken from its mooring near the Stone Jetty and was drifting out to sea on the ebbing tide.

The RLNI inshore lifeboat launched in strong winds and 2m waves, locating the vessel drifting toward rocks near Heysham

A volunteer crew member boarded the fishing boat and tried, unsuccessfully, to raise its anchor; which was dragging on the seabed.

The decision was taken to sever the boat’s anchor rope, enabling them to tow the vessel to safety.

Battling against wind and tide, after an hour, the inshore lifeboat (with one crew member on board the casualty to steer it) was able to return the fishing boat to its mooring.

They were met by the boat’s owner, who boarded the boat from his tender and after starting its engine, ran it aground, near the Stone Jetty, until he could secure it properly.

Morecambe RNLI volunteer deputy launching authority, Colin Midwinter, said: “Our crew did extremely well to recover the boat and bring it to safety in difficult conditions.

“The boat’s owner, a local commercial fisherman, had strongly requested that we take him out to it but I had to advise him, via the coastguard, that we are in the business of taking people off boats drifting toward rocks, not putting them on them.

“Our priority is to save lives; however, due to the proximity of Heysham Harbour, the fishing boat posed a potential hazard to navigation and it was important that we prevented that. It is not the RNLI’s policy to claim salvage.”