Pagers activated to bring boat to Immediate Readiness, together with Llandudno and Hoylake lifeboats. The rig support vessel “Highland Pioneer” had struck the oil/gas production platform on the Douglas gas complex, some 11 miles NNE from Rhyl. Put out MAYDAY call. There were 13 persons on board the vessel, together with 79 persons on board the rig. The vessel had been holed above the waterline. Rescue 122 helicopter from Valley was also proceeding. The vessel managed to get underway from the rig, and proceeded at slow speed to Liverpool. The helicopter surveyed the vessel and the rig support legs, and, as all seemed OK, was stood down at 0730. The lifeboats were stood down at 0737, the persons on board the rig being evacuated by normal helicopter operations at 0900.
Requested to launch ILB to search for 3 missing children last seen on the Dollis units at Llandulas stone jetties. These are concrete shaped blocks which fit into each other in a loose jigsaw formation, but which leave gaps between them to reduce the impact of sea erosion where the boats are loaded with stone from the nearby quarry. It was also reported that 2 of the children may have received injuries. The ILB was launched at 1355. The ILB requested the assistance of the AWB due to the inclement weather conditions, and so the relief boat 12-004″ Royal Shipwright” was launched as back-up. The coastguard fast response team was also deployed to search the coastline. Both boats were on scene within 30 minutes. The location is approximately 8 miles west of the station. A search was conducted until 1600 when the North Wales police informed the Coastguard at Holyhead that the children had turned up safe and well at home. The boats returned to station, being ready for service at 1735.
At request from local police units, report of person in water (suspected suicide) off Suncentre, approximately 400m east of the boathouse. Crew assembled, and due to the heavy surf off the boathouse, the ILB was stood down in preference to the AWB, which stood by on the promenade whilst the ILB crew/police/coastguard units searched the shore. Nothing was found after 30 minutes, so all units stood down. (Person was later found by police on the side of the Marine Lake, at the other end of the promenade, and taken into custody).
A new experience for all of us! Flint ILB had been tasked at 2045 to assist RSPCA Inspectors in recovering a stranded female porpoise, which had become trapped by a coaster in Mostyn dock, in the Dee estuary. The Inspectors and the ILB crew succeeded in getting the distressed mammal aboard the ILB, but needed to get her into deep water to effect a satisfactory rehabilitation into familiar waters. Due to the darkness and failing visibility (down to less than 10 metres in parts due to fog), the ILB requested big boat back-up. The Rhyl AWB responded, and launched at 2200, meeting up with the Flint ILB off Point of Air lighthouse at 2240. The ILB was then guided around the channels and sandbanks of the entrance to the river Dee until the boats were about 3 miles North-East of Rhyl, in about 40 feet of water. The porpoise was gradually re-acclimatised to the water, having spent the last hour cramped inside the ILB with the crew and the RSPCA Inspector. She was last seen swimming out to sea at 2340. Due to the cold conditions, the RSPCA Inspector was transferred to our AWB to warm up. Both the Flint ILB and Rhyl AWB then returned to Rhyl. Visibility was so restricted that the boathouse lights could not be seen until about 150 metres away. The time coincided with High Water. Flint ILB was recarriaged and transported back to Flint by road, as the Land-Rover had travelled from Flint to Rhyl to rendezvous. Due to there not being sufficient beach for the recovery of our AWB, we went into Rhyl harbour until 0130, then recovered the boat, finally leaving the boathouse at 0300.
Requested launch by Liverpool Coastguard, to assist Flint and West Kirby Inshore lifeboats, in a search of the river dee for possible persons overboard from a 15 ft salmon dinghy, found adrift in the estuary. Signs on board showed the boat had recently been fishing, as there were wet footprints and wet nets on board. Hoylake Lifeboat and rescue helicopter 122 were also proceeding. Rhyl Lifeboat was tasked to search the outer estuary where it meets with the Irish sea.After searching for about 2 hours, it was found out that the river bailiffs had been pursuing some persons who had been illegally net fishing for salmon early that morning, and it was confirmed that this boat which had been found, was the same boat. It appears that the persons waded ashore to evade capture, leaving the boat to drift. All rescue units were recalled, Rhyl Lifeboat returning to station at 1200.
The AWB was launched to assist the ILB in searching for a swimmer, apparently in difficulty, off the Suncentre at Rhyl, about 400 metres East of the boathouse. Both boats searched until 2200, when the search was called off with nothing found. (See ILB report for more detail).
Report recieved from charter fishing vessel “Merlin”, 6 miles North of Rhyl, that one of his party was suffering from an acute diabetic condition. The AWB launched, and the fishing vessel made it’s way to the shore, as there was insuffucient water in the river to get into Rhyl Harbour. The AWB took the man on board and returned to the shore, where the man was transferred to the ILB still on it’s carriage, so that a paramedic could escort the man back to the boathouse.He was transferred to an ambulance at the boathouse, and the AWB returned to the boathouse at approximately 1500.
AWB requested to launch to search for 2 overdue jetskiers, believed to be in the area of the South Hoyle Buoy. Rescue helicopter 122 was in the area, on it’s way back from another task, when it was also diverted to assist in the search. Luckily, the helicopter’s flight path to the datum actually took them over the 2 skiers, and the helicopter was able to bring the lifeboat to the location within 10 minutes of launching. The 2 jetbikes were tied together, with 3 persons in the water. The people in the water were unable to help themselves to the lifeboat, as they had been in the water for over 1.5 hours. 2 crew members in drysuits entered the water, and assisted the 3 persons aboard the lifeboat. The lady in the party was severely hypothermic, being unable to move, but shivering violently. It was agreed with the helicopter for her to be winched onto the helicopter for immediate evacuation to hospital. The other 2 men were only slightly hypothermic, and agreed to stay on board the lifeboat. The 2 jetskies were attached to lines, and were towed back to the boathouse, 2.5 miles away. Progress was slow, with the lifeboat arriving on the beach at 1900. The jetskies were taken back to the boathouse on the recovery trailer, and when the lifeboat was back at the boathouse at 1930, the 2 men considered themselves OK to make their own way back, their friends having come to the boathouse to assist in recovering the skies onto their trailers. The lifeboat was ready for service by 2000. This service, and the 9 ILB services (detailed below) made the front page of the North Wales Daily Post paper, and was reported in both the local and national press and TV. See ILB reports for sea conditions and wind direction that day.
AWB requested to standby to assist ILB on report of plane down in the sea off Prestatyn. See ILB report for more detail.
AWB launched on Honorary Secretary’s request to assist yacht “Plus VAT”, being buffeted by large seas and aground at the entrance to Rhyl harbour. The sailor had misjudged the entrance to the river and had gone aground and was beam-on to the seas. The ILB also launched and was tasked to go alongside the casualty due to the shallow water and pass a tow line from the AWB. This was done at the second attempt, and the yacht was successfully pulled off the sandbank and taken to a safe mooring in Rhyl Harbour. This was the 3rd time that Rhyl Lifeboats had assisted this particular gentleman (see Gallery page for 1999 pictures), and it was the 10th time that RNLI crews had assisted him in his sailings around the Irish Sea. Rhyl was his designated home harbour, and he was bringing the boat home after many months sailing. He had been assisted into Amlwch harbour by Moelfre Lifeboat only 2 days before. The man had made the national newspaper and TV headlines previously, and this latest rescue only increased the media’s (somewhat unfair) attention of the man. It is happy to report that he was brought ashore safe and sound after an action-packed adventure on the high seas! The ILB was again called out to the same boat at 2035 the same evening-see ILB services for report.
THE BOATS WERE ON DISPLAY AT THE SEALIFE CENTRE ON RHYL PROMENADE FOR FLAGDAY 2000. AWB requested to launch to take a sick man off a small fishing vessel “Lady Sharma” from Rhyl. Boat was 1 mile north of Rhyl, and steaming for shore. Lifeboat came alongside and took sick man off, bringing him back to a waiting ambulance in Rhyl harbour. The AWB was returning to the fishing vessel to escort her in, as there was only 1 person left on bard, when a call came from the Coastguard of a vessel reported showing black smoke off Rhos-On-sea, about 10 miles west of Rhyl. The lifeboat asked Rhyl beach guard boat to take over the escort duties for the “Lady Sharma”, and proceeded to Rhos.
The AWB was requested to investigate the report of a vessel possibly in difficulty off Rhos-On-Sea. Rhyl Coastguard mobile was also tasked. Met up with boat at 1255. The vessel was the “Laura Jane”, and it was in tow by the fishing vessel “Rose”. The “Laura Jane” had had engine problems. The AWB took over the tow, and landed the “Laura Jane” and her party of 9 anglers safely at Rhos harbour jetty. The AWB returned to station at 1430.
EMERGENCY SERVICES DAY. THE LIFEBOATS WERE AGAIN ON DISPLAY AT THE EVENTS ARENA ON THE PROMENADE. The coastguard requested the launch of the AWB to search for a small 26 foot fishing boat, 2 persons on board, about 1 mile north of the lighthouse at Point of Air, some 8 miles east of the boathouse. The crew of the fishing vessel had a mobile phone on board, and were able to notify the coastguard on shore that they were having trouble with water entering the engine compartment. The AWB launched and found them at the identified location, some 25 minutes later. A salvage pump was passed over. The 2 crew on the fishing vessel were transferred to the lifeboat, and 2 lifeboat crew mechanics went on to the boat and started the pump, which worked well, but required continual watching as the bilge in the boat was full of all sorts of things which clogged the pump. The boat was taken in tow and 7 knots was made back to Rhyl harbour. Progress was good, but there was insufficient water to take the lifeboat into the harbour, and so the ILB launched to tow the fishing vessel in. The ILB succeeded in tying the vessel to the harbour wall, and recovered the pump and the 2 mechanics, then returned to take the 2 fishing vessel’s crew back to their boat. Bothe Lifeboats were back on station at 1430, but had missed nearly all of the Emergency Services day programme of events
AWB requested to back up ILB and other search units for missing 7-year old autistic boy on Rhyl beach. Search called off at 1930 when boy was found safe and well ashore. See ILB report for fuller details.
Yacht “Gamekeeper”, on passage from Abersoch to Liverpool Marina, about 8.5 miles North of Rhyl, snagged her propeller on the pick-up line for a floating fishing net, and was unable to free the rope from the saildrive. The AWB launched and arrived on scene some 40 minutes later. Crew members went on board and managed to pick up the line with a boathook, and were able to cut the boat free from the net. It was found impossible to restart the engine, as the prop was still fouled. As the boat was a fin-keeler (only 1 keel in the centre), it was not possible to get into Rhyl harbour until about 0900, so it was decide to tow the boat and it’s 4 occupants to Conwy Marina. The tow took place at 6 knots, and the boat was safely on the waiting pontoon at the Marina at 0630, the Lifeboat returned to Rhyl at 0900.
AWB and ILB requested to launch to assist search for 2 missing persons at Presthaven sands Caravan camp, Pretatyn, about 6 miles east of the station. Rhyl Coastguard Mobile also proceeding, together with police helicopter “Police 29”. Both boats had gone about 2 miles when the report came back that both persons had been found safe and well by the beach, and were back with the camp security. Due to the fuel restrictions, the boats returned at slow speed, finally arriving back on station at 0450.
Yacht “RACHEL FAWR” called Holyhead coastguard to say that they were on passage to Rhyl and were alongside Yacht “SCILLA” which had engine problems. The winds were very light,and they were going to Rhyl to be hauled out for the Winter at Rhyl Yacht Club. The “RACHEL FAWR” was going to tow the “SCILLA” to try to get to Rhyl. At about 1320 the “RACHEL FAWR” called the Coastguard again, saying that they were experiencing low oil pressure on their own engine whilst towing the other yacht, and so Rhyl AWB was tasked to assist both yachts. The AWB launched at 1340, and proceeded the 3.5 miles to meet up with the yachts. “RACHEL FAWR” dropped the tow line and it was taken up by the AWB, the “RACHEL FAWR” then proceeded at low speed for Rhyl. The AWB took up the tow and proceeded for Rhyl at 8 knots. The “SCILLA” with 2 people on board was towed into the harbour and made fast alongside one of the local fishing boats moored in the centre of the harbour. The AWB then returned to sea to meet the “RACHEL FAWR”, with three people on board, which was still having problems with the engine. The yacht was met about 1/2 mile out from the end perch at Rhyl, and a tow was passed as the tide was now at full ebb, and it would soon be impossible for a yacht to get into the harbour. Good speed was made, and the yacht “SCILLA” was also made fast to another fishing boat in the harbour. The AWB left immediately,and returned to the station at 1550.