Margate’s two RNLI lifeboats have been involved in a lengthy rescue operation after a yacht ran aground on a sandbank off the north Kent coast.
The alarm was raised around 5.30pm yesterday evening (January 20) when a 26ft yacht under auxiliary power and with two persons on board issued a Pan Pan urgency broadcast on marine VHF radio. It reported it had ran aground on the Margate Sands around four miles north of the lifeboat station.
The call was picked up by UK Coastguard who alerted Margate RNLI and requested lifeboat assistance. Both the inshore and all-weather lifeboats were tasked to assist but when it was established the yacht had run aground on the north side of the sands, exposed to a moderate north westerly wind. the inshore lifeboat was recalled with the all-weather lifeboat continuing to carry out the rescue.
The lifeboat was soon on scene and, with help from The North East Spit pilot cutter which was also in the area, found the yacht. With the tide ebbing and the yacht now firmly aground, the lifeboat was unable to approach close enough in the shallow water.
However, the situation was considered stable with both occupants of the yacht relatively safe and so the lifeboat remained in the area to await the next flood tide. Good use was made of the time, the lifeboat taking depth soundings from both sides of the sands to determine the best route to deep water once the yacht could be refloated and towed clear.
On the flood tide several hours later the lifeboat was able to position itself close enough for a tow line to be passed to the yacht. Once the yacht started to float, the lifeboat towed it slowly into deep water to assess the situation where the decision was made to tow it to the safety of Ramsgate harbour.
The harbour was reached around two hours later and after securing the yacht alongside the lifeboat returned to station ten hours after being called.