Author: Bob Warwick
The RNLI New Brighton lifeboat Atlantic 85 B-837 Charles Dibdin was launched following a report from HM Coastguard at 5:49am that a small fishing vessel was in difficulty in the sea off from New Brighton.
Dave Lowe Senior Helmsman in charge of the Charles Dibdin reported that ‘Dawn was breaking and the sea calm and his location was being relayed via mobile phone from the fisherman via Coastguard. However we had some difficulty locating the craft as it was smaller than expected and drifting with the outgoing tide. We eventually spotted a faint light and managed to get to the craft which was by this time almost on a sand bank and in very shallow water off the main channel. It turned out to be a small inflatable dinghy with a battery powered outboard motor that had failed. Our crew were able to bring both the fisherman, who was feeling the cold, and the dinghy on board the lifeboat and we returned with both to New Brighton lifeboat station.’
He added ‘All ended well in this case however its vital that before going to sea you fully understand the limitations of your craft, let Coastguard know when and where you are going and carry communication equipment. He had a fully charged mobile phone and was very lucky to get a signal however we would recommend a VHF Radio and know how to use it. On the lifeboat we carry Radio Detection Equipment and would have found him quickly and this would have made all the difference especially if conditions had been worse and we would also recommend carrying distress flares.’
Once the fisherman had warmed up back at the lifeboat station he told how he had launched from Perch Rock at 2am for a spot of fishing however the tide and currents were too strong for his engine and found himself being swept out to sea. The anchor failed to hold him and the engine’s battery eventually went flat and it was starting to get light he realised that he better summon help and phoned Coastguard. He had a colleague with him in a kayak who managed to return to shore OK.
He added ‘I owe a big thanks to the Coastguard and lifeboat volunteers, without their assistance I could have been in serious trouble.’