Yachting Boating World: Paul Christenson was sailing in rough seas in the Bay of Plenty, New Zealand when his yacht suffered steering problems. He was forced to leap from his boat to safety.
He decided to head towards Tauranga. But, unable to continue battling against 35 knot winds and rough seas, he set off his EPIRB at just after 8pm on 9 August.
Windsong was 41 nautical miles from Tauranga. The city’s volunteer coastguard responded to Christenson’s distress signal.
On arrival, the 54-year-old skipper was forced to leap from his yacht into the arms of the coastguard. Speaking to New Zealand’s SunLive, Christenson said: “I’m lucky they have strong arms”.
The skipper had been moving his yacht from Auckland to Dunedin, after moving there with his wife, Michelle. She managed to get a message over the Maritime National Radio to Christenson while he waited for rescue.
“I love you. I don’t care about the about the boat. I can live without the boat, but I can’t live without you,” she said.
Christenson said he had checked the forecast before setting sail and believed he had plenty of time to get to his destination. However, the conditions became “ugly”. He said he was exhausted by the time help arrived.
“I had got my wife’s clothes off the boat, but left my new clothes and heart medication behind. My priorities were all screwed up,” he said.
Windsong remains off the Bay of Plenty. It is not clear if the yacht will be recovered.
Yachting Boating World: A fisherman has been rescued by the Summerleaze RNLI lifeguards after his boat caught fire off the coast of Bude in Cornwall.
The man was wearing a life jacket and was picked up by lifeguards with Summerleaze RNLI. The rescue happened just after 12pm on 10 August.
The UK Coastguard said it had received multiple 999 calls from members of the public reporting the boat fire.
It immediately issued a Mayday relay broadcast requesting assistance from other vessels in the area.
Summerleaze RNLI lifeguards raced out to sea on a jet ski to pick up the fisherman.
He was transferred to a nearby fishing vessel and was brought to shore where he was met by the Bude Coastguard Rescue Team. Cornwall Fire Service were also on scene.
The fisherman required no medical assistance. Bude and Padstow RNLI lifeboats were also sent to the burning vessel to monitor the situation. The 6.3 metre boat is now reported to have sunk.
The duty controller for UK Coastguard, James Instance, said: “This fisherman was wearing a life jacket, which no doubt aided his survival and enabled the lifeguards to find him quickly.”
“By taking this simple safety precaution, it meant that when he fell into the water his survival time increased significantly. He was also able to raise the alarm on the VHF radio,” noted Instance.
He urged anyone going out on the water to “take a good method of communications”.
“On a boat a VHF DSC radio is ideal, and a mobile phone in a sealed plastic bag is a good back up. Call 999 and ask for the Coastguard in an emergency at sea,” advised Instance.
“And of course wear your life jacket. This could have been a very different outcome today had he not been wearing a life jacket and we commend his actions, which have assisted in saving his life,” stressed the duty controller.
Yachting Boating World: Whitstable and Margate RNLI lifeboats were launched jointly to rescue ten fishermen and save their boat from sinking off the north Kent coast.
On Sunday 7 August coastguards received a call from a charter angling boat reporting that they were taking in water and in danger of sinking in the River Swale. There were ten people on board the boat.
Margate’s all-weather lifeboat and Whitstable’s inshore lifeboat were both attending the annual Whitstable Regatta when the mayday call was received.
Whitstable’s inshore lifeboat arrived quickly at the scene to provide lifesaving assistance. As the ingress of water on the boat could not be controlled Margate’s all-weather lifeboat provided assistance with their portable salvage pump. The fishing boat crew were taken safely ashore at Harty of the Isle of Sheppey by Whitstable lifeboat.
The fishing boat could be saved and was towed by Margate lifeboat to the entrance of Faversham Creek. The Whitstable lifeboat was able to beach it safely at Hollowshore.
Paul Hodson, Lifeboat Operation Manager, Margate Lifeboat said: “This joint operation demonstrates the importance of having a balanced mix of various lifeboats covering the north Kent coast. Without the rapid response of Whitstable’s inshore lifeboat and the additional capabilities of Margate’s larger all-weather lifeboat the outcome to this story could have been very different”.
Yachting Boating World: The Mersey ferry, Royal Iris ran aground and started taking on water near to the entrance of the Manchester Ship Canal at Eastham. 69 passengers were on board.
More than 70 people were rescued from the Royal Iris passenger ferry after it ran aground and started sinking on the afternoon of 10 July. The grounding at Eastham, Wirral, resulted in a hole in the hull.
The vessel, which starting taking on water at the stern, was carrying 69 passengers and five crew members.
The multi-agency rescue operation involved the New Brighton RNLI, the Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service, the Port of Liverpool Police, HM Coastguard and the North West Ambulance Service. No one was hurt in the incident.
A spokesman for the Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service said it sent two fire engines to the scene.
A dredger, Deo Gloria, assisted in pumping out water from the ferry and took the ferry passengers on board.
Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service, with the assistance of New Brighton RNLI and a Liverpool pilot boat, Kittiwake, helped move both the Deo Gloria and the Royal Iris in to the QE2 Dock at Eastham.
A spokesman for New Brighton RNLI said: “Our lifeboat, Marine Fire One and the Kittiwake positioned themselves using their bows along the side of the ferry to ensured it kept position while it was being towed into the lock by the dredger.”
The dock gates were closed and passengers were helped to disembark from the dredger on to the quayside.
Firefighters assisted in pumping out the water from the ferry while awaiting the arrival of two further tugs.
The passengers had been booked on a day trip along the Manchester Ship Canal.
The Marine Accident Investigation Branch has now started an investigation into the incident.
Flooded homes along the River Thames are being evacuated and thousands more are at risk, with water levels expected to keep rising for the next 24 hours.
Residents in one Berkshire village say the scenes are from a “horror movie”.
Fourteen severe flood warnings are in place in Berkshire and Surrey, while two remain in Somerset.
PM David Cameron, who is touring flood-hit south-west England, said it was not the time to change personnel amid criticism of the Environment Agency.
Chancellor George Osborne, meanwhile, said people understood “that the rain is not the fault of any one person”.
Homes, shops and businesses in the Berkshire village of Datchet are underwater and hundreds more along the lower River Thames, as far as Shepperton, are under threat, the Environment Agency says.
Several Thames gauges are showing their highest levels since being installed in the 1980s and 1990s.
Fire crews, who have been rescuing people from their homes in Staines-upon-Thames, say they have never known waters so deep or a flood rescue operation on this scale.
On Monday night, Surrey Police said more than 150 people had been rescued from flooded homes in the previous 24 hours.
Near Windsor, Councillor Colin Rayner pleaded for help from the police and Army.
“We’ve got 50 volunteers here, we’ve got the vulnerable people out of their homes, now we need to get everyone else out,” he said “Nearby, in the Berkshire village of Colnbrook, resident Asif Khan said his whole street was under water, his house was flooded and his fridge “just went bang”.
“It’s something out of a horror movie,” he said, adding that he was now about to try to evacuate with his two small children.
Hurst village resident Paul Palmer said sewers there were blocked and they have been unable to use the toilet since Friday.
“It’s starting to back up into the toilet – it’s like going back to the dark ages,” he told the BBC.
Thames Valley Police have declared a “major incident” in east Berkshire.
A major incident has also been declared in Surrey by the county’s police force.
Howard Davidson, from the Environment Agency, said he expected conditions in the county to deteriorate as more rain fell over the coming days.
“We have issued flood warnings from Datchet down to Shepperton, and we urge people to take heed of the flood warnings. We are anticipating another three or four inches on the Thames over the next 24 hours.”
The Environment Agency said it had never issued as many severe flood warnings and that many areas had seen more than double their average rainfall.
A two-hour meeting of the emergency Cobra committee has taken place.
The prime minister took part by phone from south-west England, where he will spend the night.
Speaking afterwards, Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said sites likely to have problems in coming days were being identified and prioritised.
“Everything possible” was being done to protect homes and communities, and special attention was being paid to water and electrical plants, he added.
The control of sandbags and ordering of temporary flood defences would be centralised by government, he said, and “full military support” remained on standby across the south.
Railway lines have also been badly affected with passengers facing severe delays. The latest developments include:
- Trains between Staines and Windsor and Eton have been cancelled until at least Thursday
- First Great Western says mainline services from London Paddington had resumed but a reduced timetable was running between Paddington and Reading
- The main route into and out of Devon and Cornwall, via Bridgwater, has been cut off by floods and storm damage
- First Great Western has lifted ticket restrictions on all journeys
Among other developments:
- The Environment Agency has issued 14 severe warnings – meaning “danger to life” – along the River Thames, in areas including Staines, Chertsey and Datchet
- Two severe warnings are in place for the South West of England in Salt Moor and East Lyng, in Somerset
- Large parts of Worcester city centre could be closed for a week because of flooding, the county council has said.
- An earth bank has been built to protect the town of Bridgwater, on the edge of the Somerset Levels, from flooding
- The family of Gareth Lockyer, the missing a kayaker whose body was found in the River Usk in Powys, say he was a “kind, caring and gentle” person
- Essex County Council says it is releasing £1m of emergency funds to tackle road flooding across the county
Network Rail says it is concerned about 400 to 500 railway sites. Normally, at this time of year, it would be about a dozen.
It is also warning that problems on the rail network could last for some months.
More than 300 less serious warnings and alerts have been issued by the Environment Agency, mostly in southern England and the Midlands.
BBC Weather forecaster Steve Cleaton said rain and strong winds were expected to hit areas already affected by flooding on Tuesday.
It is expected to start raining on the Somerset Levels at between 2am and 3am, with 10-20mm falling widely and as much as 30mm in some areas.
The band of rain is due to approach the Severn basin by dawn on Tuesday and the Thames areas around the time of the morning rush hour.
Wednesday will bring wintery showers, gale force winds and heavy rain in parts of south and west England, Mr Cleaton said, with gusts of over 70mph expected in Devon and Cornwall.
Practical Boat Owner: Four men were rescued from a 30ft sailing yacht when they got into difficulties in high winds and a heavy sea near Southend Pier. The crew of the 30ft cruiser were suffering from cold and sea sickness.
Sheerness all weather lifeboat ‘George and Ivy Swanson’ launched at 1.57pm yesterday following a report that the yacht ‘Mirrorcles II’ was unable to make way and its crew were experiencing cold and sea sickness.
Under the command of coxswain Robin Castle, the lifeboat located the casualty with four men on board, approximately half a mile south of Southend Pier, Thames Estuary.
Southend ‘Atlantic’ lifeboat was already on scene and had transferred one crewmember to the craft.
A Sheerness volunteer was also transferred on board and a tow was established for the journey across the Thames Estuary in force seven South Westerly winds and a heavy sea to Queenborough harbour.
After securing the craft on a mooring at Queenborough the four casualties were taken back to Sheerness lifeboat station for warmth and hot refreshments before being picked up by relatives.
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Smoke could be seen coming from a boat in a Portsmouth boatyard following an explosion and fire on board. Emergency crews were called to the Portsmouth Marine Engineering private boatyard when a blaze broke out on Sunday afternoon.
The explosion took place at around 1pm on Sunday and the fire crews spent 20 minutes putting out the fire.
An investigation into the incident is now taking place, however it is thought it may have been caused by a gas leak.