Busy Year For St Mary’s Lifeboat Crew

lifeboat 2013_3St Mary’s Lifeboat had one if its busiest years in 2015, with 22 launches that saw the crew covering a range of incidents from sinking vessels to boat fires.

RNLB The Whiteheads, the smaller Y-boat and relief vessels assisted 43 people in total, 9 being taken ashore aboard the lifeboat and one transferred to the RNAS Culdrose rescue helicopter.

11 yachts were helped including two with broken rudders, two becalmed and unable to run an engine, two that had run aground, one with a fire on board, one sunk and one ‘lost and confused.’

And there were two coastal searches – one in the harbour and another out at sea looking for a lost yacht, the Shady Lady.

RNLI Press Officer Steve Watt says that was one of their trickiest rescues and was launched following a faint radio signal received from the skipper.

At its peak, the hunt involved over forty personnel, including the St Mary’s, St Agnes, Tresco and St Martin’s Coastguard Rescue teams, the St Mary’s lifeboat and two rescue helicopters.

The yacht was eventually located 22 miles southwest of the islands by a commercial vessel and the single crewmember airlifted to the mainland.

Steve says last year was busier than usual, with the majority of shouts being to recreational vessels.

He says there’s been a noticeable decrease in the number of larger commercial vessels getting into trouble, which he puts down to better electronics, such as satellite navigation and ships AIS, which means the Coastguard always knows the location of ships in their area.

There were some changes for the crew last year, with two members retiring. Joe Pender left the service after 22 years and Will Streeter moved back to the mainland.

The crew have less use of Joe Thomas this year – he’s off to train to be a deck officer in the Merchant Navy.

Another success for the team was Dan May passing out as a Lifeboat Mechanic.