All Weather Mersey Lifeboat 12-24 “Lil Cunningham” – Services 2003

19/3/2003. 2140
Fishing Vessel “Merlin” of Rhyl, was coming back to harbour after a survey of the proposed wind farm off Prestatyn, but encountered thick fog at the entrance to the poles marking the approach to Rhyl harbour. After twice grounding the boat on the submerged wall, and not having radar, the skipper asked for assistance to get back to Rhyl. The lifeboat was launched within 12 minutes, and located the F/V by radar and radio direction finding equipment, about 1/2 mile out from the end perch. Using radar and GPS plotter maps, the Coxswain then started off to show the F/V the way into the harbour at reduced speed, so the F/V could remain very close to the back of the lifeboat, with visibility down to less than 10 metres. The escort continued until “Merlin” was safely moored in Rhyl harbour, and the lifeboat returned to the boathouse by 2250.


18/4/2003. 0109
The 21-feet long sailing catamaran “Silent Running” had left Caernarvon at 0800 on Thursday,17th April, with 2 people on board, bound for Liverpool. At 00.30 on Friday the 18th, they had only managed to get off Rhyl, and being tired, decided to go into Rhyl Harbour. They had become disorientated and contacted Holyhead Coastguard for assistance. Rhyl’s All-Weather Lifeboat “Lil Cunningham” was alerted and launched to assist the craft. The boat was located about 1/2 mile off the end perch marking the entrance to Rhyl harbour, and the second Coxswain was put aboard to guide the boat into harbour. This was successfully completed by 0150, and the boat was moored alongside one of the fishing boats, ready to continue the passage in daylight hours on Good Friday. The Lifeboat returned to station, being ready for service by 0240.


18/4/2003. 2126
A crewman on the drilling platform “Excalibur”, some 5 miles north of Rhyl, had fallen 7 metres onto the decking ,landing on his feet, but breaking his arm, dislocating his shoulder, and sustaining head injuries as he fell to the deck . As there were tall cranes and the jack-up legs above the deck of the platform, it was difficult for any helicopter to evacuate the man, and so the All-Weather boat was launched. The passage to the rig took about 20 minutes. 2 crew members were hoisted from the lifeboat to the platform in a lifting cradle, and attended the man with Entonox to relieve his pain. He had already been given first-aid by the crew on the platform. He was put onto the stretcher on the platform and winched down to the Lifeboat. Conditions were difficult at the sea level, as the tide and wind were pushing the Lifeboat on to the legs of the platform, so that when the casualty was actually landing on the Lifeboat’s deck, the stern and most of the wheelhouse were actually under the platform of the rig. The operation was successfully completed, even though the lifeboat was thrown against 2 of the platform’s jack-up legs. No damage was sustained to the Lifeboat. The man was transferred into the Lifeboat’s wheelhouse, and the 2 crew members were returned to the Lifeboat on the rig’s own inflatable boat. The casualty was given more Entonox to relieve his pain, and was attended to by the crew for the 20 minute return journey back to the beach at Rhyl. Once the boat was back on the beach, an ambulance Paramedic came on board and took over looking after the casualty. The Lifeboat returned to the boathouse by 2332 and the casualty was transferred to a waiting ambulance. He had been drifting into sleepiness, and was given medical attention inside the boathouse before the ambulance departed for the local hospital at 0022. The Lifeboat was ready for service by 0010. Due to the difficult tide and wind conditions, this was a very awkward rescue situation, which the whole crew undertook with great skill.


3/5/2003. 1232
Holyhead Coastguard requested the launch of the AWB to assist the 21-foot fishing boat “Rambler”, broken down ½ mile off Splash Point, off the end of Rhyl Promenade. As this was only 1/2 mile from the boathouse, the AWB quickly arrived on scene. A crew member was put on board to assess the situation. The boat had suffered engine failure on passage from Rhyl to the Wirral, and had taken in some water, but it was dealt with, and the AWB towed “Rambler back into Rhyl harbour, where it was tied up alongside the quay wall by 1314. The Lifeboat returned to station at1342.


12/5/2003. 2248
AWB put on immediate readiness to assist ILB and HMCG with suicide off Sandringham Hotel, Rhyl. See ILB services for more detail. (AWB did not launch).


18/5/2003. 2255
AWB launched to assist ILB in search for person or persons reported in water off East Parade, Rhyl. Searched for 2 hours, but nothing found, so returned to station by 0230. See ILB report for further details.


2/7/2003. 0140
The AWB was launched after Holyhead Coastguard received reports of red flares in the Towyn/Abergele areas. The crew searched the area from Rhyl to Colwyn Bay thoroughly, but did not find anything. The crew searched until 0310 when the Coastguard recalled all units. The boat returned to Rhyl by 0400.


4/7/2003. 0000
The AWB was launched as back up to the ILB to search for a person committing suicide off Abergele. See ILB report for full details. The AWB returned to station by 0130.


7/7/2003. 1556
Rhyl Beach Guard and members of the public had been watching the fishing boat “Ada” coming out of Rhyl harbour, and the crew were seen baling water out for some time. Holyhead Coastguard requested the AWB launch to assist with a salvage pump. The crew of the “Ada” refused all help, but were seen still having to bale out. The AWB escorted the boat to Mostyn some 12 miles to the East of Rhyl, and the AWB crew put the salvage pump aboard as it was obvious the boat would not complete the other 5 miles to Greenfield dock. Flint ILB had also launched, and they came alongside the boat to assist with the baling out. The mechanic went onto the “Ada” from the Lifeboat and immediately noticed water coming in from the propeller shaft lining and also from the engine body. The boat was put onto a mooring at Mostyn, but it was obvious it would sink unless beached, so Flint ILB crew beached the boat just beyond Mostyn ferry dock. The AWB and Flint ILB were then released and the AWB returned to Rhyl by 1900.


13/7/2003. 1152
Rhyl Beach patrol reported to Holyhead Coastguard that a crew member on their patrol inflatable had fallen out of the boat and the other crew member on the helm did not realise this until a few minutes later. The patrol boat then asked for assistance to locate the man and so both ILB and AWB were launched. The ILB put 1 of it’s own crew into the Patrol boat to assist with the helm, and all 3 units were used to search for the missing man between Rhyl and Prestatyn. The local Coastguard unit were also tasked and also RAF Valley Seaking 122 was put on immediate readiness. The Coastguard at Holyhead reported that they had been told a person was on the groynes off Robin Hood camp, and then Splash point, so conflicting reports were coming in. After about 15 minutes, the beach patrol at Prestatyn reported that the man had swum ashore off the Nova Centre, Prestatyn, and that he was OK. He was wearing a lifejacket and wetsuit, so was OK. Once the beach patrol confirmed the man was OK, all units were stood down and the lifeboats returned to station by 1235. It is not known at this time how the man came to enter the water, as conditions were calm winds, smooth sea, and temperatures in the high 20° C.


17/7/2003. 2354
AWB crew paged after reports from police of a person in the water attempting suicide on the beach by the Palace Hotel on Rhyl promenade. The crew assembled, but the launch was cancelled after it was reported the person was safe ashore and in the custody of the local police unit. Callout classed as “Standby”.


21/7/2003. 1700
The crew of the 30-foot long fin-keel yacht “Pilgrim” radioed Holyhead Coastguard that their engine had broken down, and the 3 persons on board were all seasick. The position given was 5 miles North of Rhyl. The Lifeboat launched by 1730 and located the casualty by position on the Global positioning system, and by radio direction-finding.2 lifeboat crew members were put onto the casualty, and the 52 year-old skipper was transferred to the lifeboat as he was in a fairly poor condition. He recovered to a more stable condition after being on the lifeboat for a small amount of time. The yacht was taken in tow, and as it’s draught was nearly 2 metres, it was decided to tow the yacht to a deep-water berth at Conwy Marina. (The crew were making for the Menai Straits anyway). It took nearly 3 hours to make the 18 miles to the marina, but the yacht was safely moored in the berth by 2100. It was not possible to check the yacht’s engine at sea, as conditions were fairly poor, with waves breaking over the lifeboat and the yacht, and there being very little room around the engine compartment to get a good look at the machinery. The lifeboat left the marina at 2105 and retuned to Rhyl by 2230. pilgrim4


8/8/2003. 1524
AWB crew requested to launch to assist ILB in search for 3 missing children between Kinmel Bay and Splash point off Rhyl, a distance of 2 miles of beach. The boat had just left the carriage when it was learnt that all 3 children were accounted for and safe. The AWB returned to station by 1700.


11/8/2003. 1402
AWB launched to assist ILB in searching for person reported in difficulty off Pensarn beach, Abergele. See ILB report for further details.


18/9/2003. 2125
AWB stood by to back up ILB in search for suicide off Splash point, Rhyl. See ILB report for fuller details.


21/9/2003. 1550
One of our crew members was driving along Rhyl Promenade when he saw an 18-foot speedboat off Rhyl end perch (which marks the entrance to Rhyl harbour) setting off an orange smoke flare. He phoned 999 and told Holyhead Coastguard. The ALB crew were paged and the boat was launched at 1600. The boat, with 2 adults and 2 children on board, was by now 1/2 mile off the boathouse, and the casualty was reached within 3 minutes of launching. It appears that the boat struck a submerged object and smashed the propeller and bottom of the outdrive. The 4 people were taken on board the Lifeboat, and they told the Coxswain that they had come from Rhos-On-Sea, about 10 miles to the West of Rhyl. The boat was taken in tow, and arrived at Rhos-On-Sea at about 1800. The boat was transferred to the slipway and the people were landed at the slipway, and the boat was recovered on to the trailer. It must be noted that even though the owner had only had the boat for 2 weeks, he was well equipped with radio, flares, etc, and had all the people on board fitted out with lifejackets. The Lifeboat returned to station at 1855. starting tow


3/10/2003. 1341
AWB launched to assist an 18-foot yacht with 1 person on board, who was having difficulty getting into Rhyl harbour, and had grounded due to insufficient water at the entrance, and was being pounded by the waves. The boat was on passage from Red Wharf Bay in Anglesey to Liverpool, but as conditions deteriorated, had tried to shelter in Rhyl. The AWB stood by as the ILB was launched with additional crew, so that 2 crew members could be landed on the yacht to assist the sea-sick lone sailor. There was another yacht also going into Rhyl, and the Lifeboat watched this go into the harbour before taking the original yacht in tow and taking it into Rhyl harbour, where it was safely put on a mooring. The ILB and AWB then returned to station by 1615. ALB


16/11/2003. 1634
AWB launched to back-up ILB in searching for female attempting suicide at Prestatyn. AWB had just launched when it was reported by North Wales police that the woman was in police custody ashore. AWB returned to station by 1725.


19/11/2003. 2318
Holyhead Coastguard, various members of the public, and Some crew members heard the spoken words -“MAYDAY BLUE PHOENIX, 2 MILES OFF RHYL ” on Channel 16 VHF. Holyhead Coastguard had a directional bearing off their Great Orme aerial, and this agreed with the direction to 2 miles off Rhyl. The AWB was launched and a radar search was undertaken of the immediate area around Rhyl. It was first thought that the casualty was on passage from Conwy to Rhyl, but this was later discounted as that boat was discovered in Conwy, safe and sound. After 35 minutes, Llandudno Lifeboat was launched to assist Rhyl Lifeboat, and the 2 boats carried out a thorough search of the sea up to 3 miles out between Llandudno and Rhyl, but nothing was found. The search was called out after 3 hours and the Rhyl Lifeboat returned to station by 0330. No boat was subsequently reported as missing, and it was considered that it could possibly be a hoax call, but this couldn’t be verified.


24/11/2003. 1747
The AWB crew were called out at 5.45 pm on Monday, 24th November, to go to the assistance of the 37-foot long Morecambe Bay Prawner yacht “Polly”, which had lost all propulsion 11 miles North of Abergele. The yacht was on passage from Liverpool to Conwy Marina. The 2 crew (and 1 dog) were unable to sail the vessel in the strong winds and so called the Coastguard for assistance. The Lifeboat was alongside the yacht within 1 hour and took up the tow. 2 crew members were transferred to the yacht from the Lifeboat to help the crew with the tow. Due to the increasing wind and tidal conditions off Colwyn Bay, the decision was made to return with the boat in tow to Rhyl. This was done but progress was slow due to the conditions, and the boat was finally put on a mooring in Rhyl Harbour at 23.30. The Lifeboat returned to station by 00.15 Tuesday,


8/12/2003. 0850
Holyhead Coastguard received a radio message from a fishing boat off Prestatyn, saying they had an injured crewman on board, and specifically asking for Rhyl Lifeboat to launch. The AWB crew were paged and the boat launched in 12 minutes. On arriving off Prestatyn, nothing could be seen, and conditions were perfect, with good visibility and a calm sea. The coastguard and the Lifeboat were unable to make contact on the radio with the casualty, and after searching for nearly 2 hours, the Coastguard decided that the call was a hoax (Llandudno Inshore Lifeboat had a similar hoax call the day previously), and the boat returned to station by 1035.

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