Both St Helier lifeboats search for lost sailor
The RNLI St Helier inshore and all-weather lifeboats were launched in the early hours of Thursday morning to search for a lone yachtsman who had become separated from his boat.
Jersey Coastguard had taken a call just before midnight from the sailor who reported that he was drifting in his tender and was separated from his yacht which was located just to the south of St Helier. The yachstman only had a mobile phone to communicate and was concerned about how much battery he had left. When taken with the light north easterly wind which was blowing the casualty away from Jersey, the decision was made to launch both the inshore and all-weather lifeboats.
After an extensive search, which included launching two white illumination flares, the casualty was eventually located by the all-weather lifeboat 2 miles south of Noirmont Point. He was taken on board and found to have been ill, so was brought to St Helier where he was met by an ambulance as a precautionary measure.
Meanwhile, the RNLI St Helier inshore lifeboat had located the sailor's yacht which had drifted further to the south west which was then taken under tow and brought back to St Helier. Both lifeboats were then refuelled and prepared for their next service.
Paul Mimmack, Deputy Launch Authority for St Helier RNLI stated:
"This search and rescue mission highlights the importance of carrying the right safety equipment on board not only the main vessel, but also tenders and dinghys if there is a journey of any length being undertaken or if there are no persons remaining aboard the main vessel. It is always safer to stay on the main vessel, even if it is broken down, and only use a dinghy as a last resot, especially at night.
In this case, conditions were favourable and the outcome was a good one, but the yachtsman did not have a handheld VHF, which would have allowed for direction-finding equipment to obtain bearings, nor any means of illumination such as a flare, which would obviously have helped locate him and his dinghy. His one means of communication was a mobile phone which is only effective where there is a signal and then only if it has sufficient battery and has not become water-damaged.
We would also like to take the opportunity to remind all boat users of the importance of having and wearing a lifejacket, which will help keep anyone in the water afloat and provide a bigger target for search and rescue teams to locate."
Credit: RNLI Jersey