PWC (Personal Watecraft – Jetski) breaks down in rough seas and near gale-force winds.
The crew of Rhyl’s All-weather Mersey Class lifeboat were called out at 2.35 on Sunday 15 September 2013, in near gale-force winds and a rough sea, to a PWC that had broken down and was drifting about 1 mile out from the shore at the rainbow bridge, Llandulas, in a westerly wind and flood tide, pushing it towards Rhyl. A small rigid-inflatable (RIB) had gone out to assist, but it was on the limit for that type of craft, and when the lifeboat crew arrived on scene 25 minutes later, they found the RIB crew towing the PWC, but the Jetski rider was actually in the water, holding on to the Jetski, going about 5 miles per hour.
A crew member went overboard to assist the rider, and get him to the lifeboat. Once the casualty was on board, he then went back to the Jetski to get a tow with the lifeboat. This was successfully completed, and the Jetski was towed back to Old Colwyn. The casualty was then taken to shore by the RIB and the Jetski also taken to shore. Despite being in the water for about 90 minutes, the man was OK and declined medical help on shore. The lifeboat crew supervised the beaching and then returned to Rhyl by 5pm.
The man, and the RIB crew were given some safety advice by the local coastguard on their return to shore, as this service could have ended differently if thje Jetski was about a mile further out, in the breaking seas and strong winds and rain.
Coxswain Martin Jones says “The casualty was lucky the sea was still warm from the Summer.The seas were nearly on the limit for a small RIB. If any vessel puts to sea, they should inform the local coastguard to inform them of their intentions. This applies to both the casualty, and any vessel that goes to assist them”.