Published on April 30th, 2017 | by West Mersea RNLI
Lifeboat responds to mayday from fishing vessel
Sunday 30th April 2017 night we received a DSC mayday alert at 0128hrs followed by another shout at 3am.
At 0128hrs when we were all fast asleep in our beds, a DSC mayday alert was received from a fishing boat near Packing Shed Island. Blurry-eyed and with pagers bleeping, we rushed through the night to the station, launching into the darkness to find a cold wet casualty on a fishing boat, and another on the marshes.
The two casualties had been returning to the shore in a little rubber dinghy when their outboard engine had run out of fuel. Marooned in the creeks in the middle of the night they decided to tie up to a withy. One of the men swam to a nearby fishing boat to find help and the other stayed with the dinghy. The swimmer reached the fishing boat, climbed aboard and used the boat’s radio to send a mayday alert. The withy proved not to be a strong mooring point and the man who stayed in the dinghy drifted away. We arrived on scene to find the swimmer aboard the fishing boat dressed in the Captain’s clothes to keep warm. We then went in search of his stranded companion who we found washed up on the marshes. We brought them both back to the station to be warmed up, and then went back to sea to recover their dinghy.
By now our stoic volunteer crew were in desperate want of their beds but sleep was not to be. At 0300am the lifeboat was called again to attend the Strood after reports of a car in the water following a road traffic accident. Upon arrival at the Strood, the Coastguard confirmed the car did not actually enter the water and the lifeboat was stood down. The crew eventually got to bed as dawn broke.