Don’t be deceived by the weather, it can still be dangerous at sea

Picture by reader Daniel Miller. It's used on a half page in this week's Manx Independent

Picture by reader Daniel Miller. It's used on a half page in this week's Manx Independent

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Lifeboat crews are warning people not to be deceived by calm, good weather into thinking things can’t go wrong.

The comments were made after Ramsey’s RNLI lifeboat made two rescues on Sunday.

The RNLB Ann and James Ritchie was launched to go to the assistance of a leisure craft that had broken down about a mile off Maughold Head.

The six-metre Ramsey-registered vessel, with three people on board, had suffered electrical failure and was drifting, unable to get back to Ramsey.

The owner of the vessel used a mobile phone to alert Ramsey Lifeboat to his plight.

With coxswain Mark Kenyon at the helm, the lifeboat was launched at 3.15pm and arrived on scene by 3.30pm. The stricken vessel was taken safely in tow.

The intention was to take the vessel straight into Ramsey harbour, however, as they were passing across Ramsey Bay, coxswain Mark Kenyon saw two sailing dinghies, one capsized and seemingly tangled up with the Queen’s Pier.

Further investigation revealed that one of the dinghies had indeed capsized.

Its owner was having problems and was unable to right it.

The dinghy owner was still attached to his boat but in the water and, despite being suitably equipped with a wet suit and buoyancy aid, was both exhausted and cold. The second dinghy was trying to help.

The lifeboat released the tow to the first casualty and left it safely by the Queen’s Pier and diverted to the stricken dinghy.

The dinghy owner was taken on board the lifeboat to be assessed and recover.

The lifeboat took the dinghy in tow towards the shore where volunteer lifeboat crew member Wayne Hargrave, equipped in a drysuit and lifejacket, waded out and pulled the dinghy ashore.

The lifeboat plus dinghy owner, by now recovered but still a little shocked, returned to the first vessel and resumed its tow to Ramsey harbour.

Ramsey lifeboat returned to station and was re-housed and ready for service again by 5pm.

Dr Gordon Dickens, a volunteer with Ramsey RNLI Lifeboat and RNLI Sea Safety Officer for the Isle of Man, said: ‘This is a good example of how, even in perfect conditions, things can easily go wrong and escalate into a dangerous situation.

‘Always think of what might go wrong and have a plan for dealing with it in advance.

‘Happily these two incidents resulted in the safe return of both the crews and their vessels.

‘With this spell of warmer weather, many leisure craft and their crews are enjoying the seas.

‘But please, if you are unsure about any matter concerned with safety at sea, or would like one-to-one informal advice on your boat and equipment, a member of the Sea Safety Team is happy to call on you at your boat. This can be arranged by calling me on 475979.’

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