The AWB was launched after the windfarm support vessel “Explorer” discovered an 18ft cockling boat drifting near to the North Hoyle windfarm off North Wales. The boat was unoccupied, but it not known if the vessel had broken adrift from the River Dee estuary or had been engaged in the cockling industry. The boat’s position made it a hazard to windfarm shipping entering the port of Mostyn or working on the offshore wind turbines. The lifeboat came alongside the vessel and a crew member was put aboard. The vessel was locked, and the mooring line was still in the water, so it looked like the boat had come adrift from it’s mooring. As it was a danger to shipping, the boat was towed back to Rhyl to await the owner who had contacted Holyhead Coastguard regarding the missing vessel. The lifeboat was back on station at 1855.
The crew were just finishing the polishing of the boat for the RNLI coastal review on 20th October, when they noticed North Wales police, together with the force helicopter, searching Rhyl promenade for over an hour for a vulnerable male who said he was going to the sea off Rhyl to do self-harm. The police had a location for his mobile phone on the promenade near the harbour, going in the direction of the sea. It was therefore requested by the police for coastguard and lifeboat assistance with the search. As the weather was on the border for the ILB in heavy surf, the AWB was launched to search the area between Rhyl harbour and East of Prestatyn. Curiously, the police reported the mobile phone was switched off just as the boat was launching, and therefore all contact with the casualty was lost. The AWB searched until dusk arrived, when further searching would prove very difficult in the squally and rainy conditions, and Holyhead coastguard agreed the search could be called off with nothing found. The crew experienced short sharp seas over 3 metres with heavy surf. The boat was back in the boathouse at 1915. There was no further communications from the police, so details were very scratchy. It is not known whether this was a hoax or not.
Firstly the AWB, then 20 minutes later the ILB, were launched after Holyhead Coastguard received a distress alarm from an EPIRB (Electronic Position Indicating Radio Beacon) indicating a 34-foot yacht had sunk off Rhyl. The boats were launched and started a box search around the Rhyl area between Colwyn Bay and Prestatyn, as a few yachts had been sighted at these points earlier in the day. The lifeboat used it’s DF (Direction finding) equipment, but nothing was heard. After about 90 minutes, the coxswain decide to try closer inshore and in Rhyl harbour, and the crew discovered a newly-acquired fishing boat submerged on a mooring in the harbour. On approaching the boat, the DF provided a positive signal. The AWB and ILB crew checked out the boat which was leaking diesel into the harbour. The local coastguard team located the owner who confirmed he had a yacht previously and the EPIRB was from it. With nothing more to do, the lifeboats returned to station at 1745.
As both boats were returning from an exercise off the windfarms off Rhyl, they were diverted by Holyhead Coastguard to search for a young male who was missing on the dunes and beach between Presthaven sands camp, Prestatyn, and Talacre lighthouse. they had just arrived on scene when it was reported the male was found safe ashore, and the coastguard and lifeboats were stood down, returning to station at 1625.
Both boats brought to immediate readiness to assist police and ambulance recover an agitated vulnerable male from the water off the Sky Tower, Rhyl. As the crew were assembling, the ambulance control reported to Holyhead Coastguard that the person had come out of the water, and was in the custody of police. All units were stood down at 0410.
Rhyl beach lifeguards reported a kite surfer in Kinmel Bay had become separated from his rig in the surf. The AWB was put on immediate readiness for launch as the sea conditions were too rough for the ILB. After about 5 minutes, the lifeguards reported the person had managed to get ashore and the AWB was stood down at 1152. Classed as standby.
The AWB had jut launched to exercise with the SeaKing helicopter from RAF Valley, Anglesey, when Holyhead Coastguard received a 999 call reporting a small boat in trouble off Colwyn Bay, with apparently a person in the water. Llandudno ILB had been requested, but Rhyl’s ALB was also tasked to back up the ILB. Llandudno ILB was on scene first, and reported the boat was OK, with the occupants happily fishing. The AWB was about 1.5 miles away, and so was stood down to return to the exercise.
The AWB was launched, after Holyhead Coastguard received 999 calls stating a small yacht “Sarah 2”was making little or no progress in a fairly rough sea and high winds off Abergele. The yachtsman had started off early from Red Wharf Bay on Anglesey in the early hours, but was hardly making any headway in the poor conditions. The AWB, under Coxswain Martin Jones’ first command, went alongside the vessel. The single occupant was very tired, and it was agreed the lifeboat crew would escort the vessel to it’s destination of Rhyl harbour, where conditions could be hazardous to a small boat. The 2 boats waited outside the harbour entrance for about an hour, until the tide started ebbing, and conditions moderated enough to attempt a passage to the harbour. This was completed and the lifeboat crew checked the man and his boat were safe on a mooring. The lifeboat returned to station at 1448.
ILB launched and AWB on standby at water’s edge, to search for a family of 4 off Presthaven Sands, Prestatyn, apparently cut off by the tide and lost from sight. The ILB was towed along the beach to Prestatyn Barkby beach, and was just launching when the coastguards received a message saying all were safely back at the camp site. the AWB was stood down, and the ILB returned by road back to Rhyl, returning at 2135.
Whilst the AWB was on exercise off Rhyl, Holyhead Coastguard requested that the crew proceed to Barkby beach sailing club area, where a kayaker was reported having difficulty paddling back to shore. The AWB proceeded, but was still about 1 mile away, when it was reported the kayaker was safe ashore and the boat was stood down to return to exercise.
AWB brought to immediate readiness to assist ILB, Coastguard and police units search for a despondent female at Presthaven sands, Prestatyn. Stood down at 2350 when woman was found safe ashore. Classed as standby.
The Offshore Windfarm support vessel “South Stack” picked up a radio message from the 20-feet speedboat “Sea Spray”, with 4 on board, taking water about 3 miles out further than the Rhyl Flats wind farm. The support vessel located the boat and took the 4 on board, and took the boat in tow towards Rhyl as the AWB was paged. The AWB rendezvoused about 4 miles off Rhyl and transferred the 4 men and took over the tow. All the men were wearing lifejackets and all were well. As they had departed from Rhyl yacht club that morning, it was agreed to tow the boat back to the boathouse and locate the men’s’ trailer at the yacht club and recover the boat on the beach. The local coastguards found the trailer and the boat was successfully recovered to the boathouse at 1130. The water was pumped out of the boat and the men returned to their homes. the AWB was ready for service at 1145.
ILB and AWB requested to launch to a male, armed with a knife, threatening self-harm on Prestatyn beach. As the boathouse doors were being opened, the police notified Holyhead Coastguard that the male was now in police custody, and both boats were stood down. Classed as a standby for both boats.
Both boats were launched, together with Rhyl local volunteer coastguards on shore, after Holyhead Coastguard received a 999 call from a person via a mobile phone, stating that they had seen a male entering the water at Towyn, Abergele, at 2100 in a small dinghy, and he had not returned to shore. Both boats launched, and proceeded to search an area between Kinmel Bay and Pensarn, up to 1 mile out to sea, as the coastguards undertook a shoreline search. After searching for about 1 hour, Holyhead Coastguard received a message from the police that the caller had been traced to a location in Cheshire, where local police had been alerted, and all units were stood down. This was put down as a hoax which cost well over £8000 to launch the boats and alert the local coastguards. Both these services are volunteers and this hoax was a complete waste of resources and time, and could have taken essential emergency units away from a real casualty. Police in Cheshire and locally will pursue their lines of enquiry to bring these thoughtless people to justice.
Both boats brought to immediate readiness together with coastguard teams from Rhyl and Flint, were tasked to search the shoreline and immediate sea area between Prestatyn and Mostyn for a male threatening self-harm. As the boats were starting to go down the beach, Holyhead Coastguard were told the male was safe at home and all units were stood down. Classed as standby for both boats.
Whilst the crews of Rhyl’s two RNLI lifeboats were carrying out a training exercise off Rhyl harbour, they heard a very load and clear “Mayday” message on the marine distress channel, the message also included the words “Quebec 1”. This was so clear that the crews thought the signal must be in the immediate area, and so notified the main Coastguard station at Holyhead. Both boats were then tasked to search for a vessel in distress. Liverpool coastguard station had also heard the message, and so the adjacent RNLI lifeboat at Hoylake was launched. West Kirby and New Brighton inshore RNLI boats were also tasked, together with a relief fleet lifeboat on passage through the area, and local volunteer coastguard units at Rhyl. In all, over 30 lifeboat personnel and other coastguard officers were involved. Nothing more was heard over the radio channel, and so a major search was undertaken between Abergele and Liverpool, and out to the shipping channel into the river Mersey. The search was undertaken in Northerly force 4 winds, with many squally hail showers and poor visibility in the squalls. After about 2.5 hours, with nothing further heard, and no-one reported overdue, all units were released from the search and stood down. This was put down as a hoax call. Paul Frost, lifeboat press officer and volunteer RNLI crew member from Rhyl says – “It costs about £5800 to launch an All-weather lifeboat, and about £2200 for an Inshore lifeboat, so the resources put into this fruitless search were about £25000 overall, not to mention wasting using over 30 volunteers’ time. This could have tied up resources and could have endangered lives should a real emergency have happened.” The RNLI will be assisting HM Coastguard to try to locate and bring the hoaxer to justice.