During unseasonable wet and windy weather on Monday 15th May, the RNLI Torbay all-weather lifeboat Alec & Christina Dykes was tasked by HM Coastguard to assist a 36’ motor cruiser which had snagged pot lines and was held fast to the ocean floor after setting off from Dartmouth.
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The volunteer lifeboat crew (based in Brixham) went to assist the motor vessel (which had twin outdrive engines and two persons on board) after the cruiser picked up pot ropes which then became badly tangled around the propeller 3.5 miles off Berry Head. Unable to free itself, the cruiser was anchored by the snagged line in a 4-6 foot swell.
The lifeboat crew arrived promptly and tried various methods to free the vessel including gently towing the her free (which proved too dangerous) then using a grapnel (or grappling) hook to free the twisted rope; however this proved impossible when the line being used parted due to the weight of the two boats. RNLI Torbay lifeboat Coxswain Mark Criddle said: ‘eventually volunteer lifeboat crewman Nigel Crang put on a dry suit and helmet and, by reaching down towards the snagged propeller from the diving platform on the cruiser, was able to use a knife to gradually cut the vessel free which was an extremely tricky operation in the conditions.’
The Severn Class lifeboat volunteer crew were then able to attach a tow line and safely return the stricken vessel to the mouth of the River Dart, then putting her alongside the lifeboat to continue safely into Darthaven Marina for repairs.
This incident clearly demonstrates how quickly situations at sea can change and the incredibly valuable work down by the RNLI volunteer lifeboat crews.Follow