Yacht Collisions, Grounded Vessels and Men Overboard

With 1,779 boats competing in Saturday's Round The Island race, Solent Coastguard were well prepared for a challenging day. This year, the annual Round The Island race generated a flurry of incidents, with the Coastguard Helicopter, Coastguard Rescue Teams and RNLI lifeboats being called to assist grounded vessels and men overboard, as well as the FastCat that operates between Portsmouth and Ryde, which became grounded on its 5.45 crossing.

Race Control had organised spotters at four different locations who were in constant contact with Solent Coastguard, informing them of any incidents as they occurred. The first three incidents associated with the race were vessels that had found themselves in difficulty through colliding with other vessels, or machinery failure. Three RNLI lifeboats were requested to launch.

From 1300 to 1415 Solent Coastguard dealt with five man overboard reports, requesting the Coastguard Helicopter from Lee-On-Solent proceed to their rescue, as well as requesting the launch of the Yarmouth All Weather Lifeboat.

At five o clock, Ryde Inshore Rescue informed Solent Coastguard that they were proceeding to 14 grounded vessels (although 3 became free before they arrived). Bembridge Coastguard Rescue Team also provided assistance, with many more vessels becoming grounded throughout the afternoon and evening. At 17:35 reports came in that two vessels had collided, although there were no injuries on board.

With close to 1000 vessels finishing the race, the Solent was an extremely busy place between 1800 and 2000, which caused problems for the 5.45 passage of the Ryde FastCat, a passenger Catamaran that operates between Portsmouth Harbour and Ryde Pier. At 1801 Solent Coastguard were informed by Ryde Inshore Rescue Control that the FastCat had run aground on Ryde Sands with 65 passengers and 4 crew members on board. Several vessels attended to refloat the vessel, which was pulled free at 19.35 and continued its passage to Ryde with no visible damage.

Solent Coastguard Watch Manager Colin Griffiths said:

With 16,000 people and 1,779 vessels involved in the Round the Island race this year, it was always going to be a busy day for us, but we were well prepared to deal with the variety of incidents that an event like this brings with it.

We despatched several resources including our Coastguard helicopter to several reports of people falling overboard from vessels yesterday. Vessel owners involved in any kind of leisure sailing can minimise the risk of being involved in man overboard situations by using the appropriate safety harnesses at all times, and always making your safety, as well as the safety of your other crew members, a priority. Ensuring everyone on board is wearing a properly fitted lifejacket is absolutely crucial, as well as carrying on board other important safety equipment such as radios, lights, flares and navigation equipment.

Date Added - 23-Jun-2009

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