Volunteers at the Port St Mary RNLI were recently given a special recognition award after a yacht rescue operation in 2021.

The volunteers were presented with their awards at Port St Mary Lifeboat Station by the Lieutenant Governor Sir John Lorimer and Lady Lorimer, while the former Chief Minister of the island Sir Miles Walker was also in attendance.

The rescue operation took place in the early hours of November 6, 2021, where three experienced yachtsmen were saved from their yacht amidst extremely adverse weather conditions.

Talking about the rescue operation, a spokesperson from the Port St Mary RNLI said: 'The volunteer crews of both the all-weather and the inshore lifeboat were paged at 6am. The lifeboats launched into the rough sea in a force five wind.

'Both lifeboats and its crews assessed the situation and agreed that the all-weather lifeboat was unable to get close to the yacht, but would offer shelter for the smaller inshore lifeboat to go alongside the yacht to take the yachtsmen off.

'The yacht was held firm by a lobster pot rope and an anchor, but due to the conditions, either could have parted and that would have resulted in the yacht landing on the yachtsmen on the rocks.

'Having agreed the evacuation procedure between the lifeboats, the instructions were conveyed to the yachtsmen, who were wearing lifejackets, had prepared emergency bags and had not suffered any injuries.

'The conditions continued to deteriorate and on the first run in, one yachtsman was recovered and transferred to the all-weather lifeboat. The inshore lifeboat then returned to evacuate the other two yachtsmen, by which time the deck of the yacht was, at times, towering above the inshore lifeboat.

'The volunteer crew chose the moment to instruct the yachtsmen to slide down into the inshore lifeboat and be transferred to the all-weather lifeboat.

'The yachtsmen knew what they were doing and they had sensibly called for help early. They knew their lives were in the balance.'

Richard Leigh, who commanded the inshore lifeboat 'Spirit of Leicester', was awarded with the RNLI bronze medal for gallantry, for his 'superb boat handling, seamanship and courage'.

Coxswain Mike Keggen, mechanic Gareth Watt, lifeboat operations manager Sarah Keggen and crew members Laura Cordner, Daniel Grace, Chris Hill, Brian Kelly, Robert Marshall and Mark Pendlebury were also awarded official commendations.

Mr Leigh commented: 'This was a team effort. Not only at sea, but everyone at the station, the team at HM Coastguard, the fundraisers rattling buckets in Solihull and those serving cups of tea in Edinburgh.

'It is one big effort from everybody.'