Margate’s RNLI all-weather and inshore lifeboats, along with other agencies, came to the aid of a sinking fishing boat off the Thanet coast today (June 23).
The 7m long fishing vessel was around two miles north west of Margate when its sole occupant contacted UK Coastguard reporting the vessel was taking in water and needing urgent assistance.
The coastguard broadcast a Mayday Relay message on the marine VHF radio distress channel to alert other vessels in the area and after radio-paging Margate RNLI it was decided to launch the town’s inshore lifeboat to provide an immediate lifesaving response.]
The all-weather lifeboat, which carries a portable salvage pump, was also launched to provide additional assistance. The NE Spit pilot cutter Estuary Elan which picked up the Mayday Relay message also responded, and Margate’s Coastguard Rescue Team was also tasked.
With the arrival on scene of the inshore lifeboat, the fishing vessel’s occupant was taken aboard the lifeboat and it was decided to tow the vessel back to nearby Margate harbour its home port. As a precaution and with a mind to his welfare, the man was transferred to the Estuary Elan which quickly landed him ashore at Margate.
The vessel was secured alongside the square-head at Margate harbour and the all-weather lifeboat’s salvage pump was put aboard the inshore lifeboat and attempts were made to stem the flow of water into the fishing vessel.
Unfortunately the ingress of water proved to be too great for the pump and the vessel sank alongside the harbour wall. After picking up debris that had floated away from the boat both lifeboats were released from the scene and returned to station.
Nick Smith, Deputy Launching Authority, Margate RNLI said: “The skipper of the fishing vessel made a wise decision in contacting the coastguard which resulted in a rapid response and his removal from immediate danger. We are grateful for the assistance of the Estuary Elan which was able to rapidly transfer him to the shore. Thankfully no one was injured or worse but sadly the fishing boat lost its battle with the water ingress.”