3 x SAR Incidents – Saturday, 14 August 2021

At 11:48 on Saturday 14 August, Operators in JESCC received a 999 call from Kayakers in trouble in the Petit Bot area on the South coast of Guernsey which resulted in a multiagency response from Guernsey Coastguard, Guernsey Police, St John’s Ambulance Service and both, the St Peter Port All-Weather Lifeboat “Spirit of Guernsey” and the Inshore Lifeboat “Elizabeth & Margaret Milligan.

The Inshore Lifeboat arrived on scene at 12:11 closely followed by the All-weather Lifeboat at 12:15. A medical assessment of the Kayakers, who had been in the water for some time was made and because of the serious condition of one of the casualties, it was decided to attempt to land them ashore to the beach at Petit Bot where Ambulance and Police staff were waiting.

Due to a large swell in the bay, this was not possible, and the decision was made to transfer the casualties to the All-Weather Lifeboat for transportation back to St Peter Port.

Both Lifeboats arrived back into St Peter Port at 12:42 where all casualties were handed over to a waiting Ambulance there.

Both Lifeboats were back on station by 13:06

At 18:21, Guernsey Coastguard received a call from a RIB that had suffered mechanical failure and was in need of assistance approximately 4 nautical miles North of Platte Fougere on the North Coast of Guernsey.

At 18:25 a Pan-Pan broadcast was made and motor vessel “Laura Jane” offered assistance and proceeded to the scene.

At 18:34 the St Peter Port All-Weather Lifeboat “Spirit of Guernsey” was also launched to go to the aid of the broken-down RIB.M/V “Laura Jane” arrived on scene at 18:56 and managed to establish a tow with the RIB which was handed over to the All-Weather Lifeboat at 19:12.“Spirit of Guernsey” and the casualty vessel arrived back into St Peter Port at 19:36 where the tow was handed over to Guernsey Harbour staff.

The Lifeboat was back on station by 19:41

It was during the second incident that at 19:00, another vessel approximately half a nautical mile north-west of the “Lower Heads” buoy called Guernsey Coastguard to declare an engine failure and that they too needed assistance.

The vessel “Grafter” responded to the casualty vessel’s call and arrived on scene at 19:26 whereby a tow was established and both boats arrived safely back into St Peter Port at 19:46.

AIS tracking courtesy of digimap

Dinghy and Swimmer in Difficulty

Shortly after 4:30 pm on Monday 9th August, Guernsey Coastguard received several calls from members of the public concerned about a dinghy being swept out to sea near La Valette Bathing Pools. Whilst the dinghy was clearly visible, the 2 crew were evidently struggling to paddle back to shore against the wind. Guernsey Harbours’ RHIB was launched at 4:45 pm and was on scene 9 minutes later. Both the crew and the dinghy were safely recovered to St Peter Port Harbour.

A spokesperson from Guernsey Coastguard said “Inflatables like the one involved in this incident should only be used in swimming pools and not around the coast where they can be quickly swept out to sea. The 2 crew were inexperienced and had been drinking alcohol. Anyone partaking in waterborne activities must check wind and tides and carry the right safety equipment. Alcohol and water never mix”.

Later in the evening, Guernsey Coastguard received multiple 999 calls reporting a person stranded on a rock in Cobo Bay. The person was waving his arms indicating he was in distress, so St Peter Port Inshore Lifeboat (ILB) was launched on service at 7:26 pm to head to the scene. The casualty had been part of a group swimming in the bay but had become detached after starting to struggle. Realising what was happening, 2 of the group returned to the casualty and managed to swim him back to the safety of the beach where police, paramedics, and coastguard were waiting. After confirming no one else was in difficulty, St Peter Port ILB was stood down. The casualty was examined by paramedics and taken to hospital as a precaution.

St Peter Port Lifeboat launched to assist vessel in difficulty

Shortly after 11:00pm on Sunday 8th August, Guernsey Coastguard received a call from CROSS Jobourg (French Coastguard) reporting a 6.5 metre sailing vessel in difficulty approximately 10 miles southwest of Pleinmont Point. The sailing vessel was on passage from Ireland to France with one person on board and had suffered a total electrical failure several days previously. This had resulted in a failure of the vessel’s autopilot meaning the skipper had been steering manually for 3 days with no sleep. He was extremely tired and unable to radio for help with his only means of communication being sporadic use of a battery-powered satellite phone.

St Peter Port Lifeboat “Spirit of Guernsey” launched on service shortly before midnight and was on scene with the casualty at 12:52am. The weather on scene was poor and the vessel was making very slow progress. The Lifeboat had difficulty communicating with the casualty due to the lack of a working radio however, a line was successfully passed to the vessel and she was towed to St Peter Port arriving shortly before 04:00 am. The skipper was extremely fatigued but otherwise safe and well.

AIS tracking courtesy of Digimap
Pic by Tony Rive 09-08-2021 A 6.5 metre French Yacht that was towed into St Peter Port in the early hours by the Spirit of Guernsey from approximately 10 miles West of Pleinmont Point (Guernsey’s Southwest coast)

St Peter Port Lifeboat Launched to Assist Vessel with Engine Failure

At 20:33 on Monday 26 July 2021, Guernsey Coastguard was contacted by the sailing vessel “Pluto” which had broken down in the Big Russel, due East of Herm. The vessel was struggling against the flood tide and a crew member on board was suffering from seasickness.

A Pan-Pan broadcast was made to see if there were any vessels in the area that could assist “Pluto” however there were none and at 20:55 the St Peter Port all-weather lifeboat “Spirit of Guernsey” was launched to the assist “Pluto”.

The Lifeboat arrived on scene at 21:26 and established a tow with the casualty vessel, bringing it safely back into St Peter Port Harbour at 22:57, where the tow was handed over to Guernsey Harbour’s marina staff.

The St Peter Port lifeboat was back on station at 23:10.

AIS tracking courtesy of Digimap

St Peter Port Lifeboats Launched to Kayakers in Difficulty

At 17:32 on Monday 19th July 2021, Guernsey Coastguard was alerted to 2 kayakers in difficulty 500 metres off of Albecq.  Police Officers attended the scene and reported 2 kayakers out of their kayaks and clearly in difficulty.

St Peter Port Inshore Lifeboat “Elizabeth and Margaret Milligan” and All-Weather Lifeboat “Spirit of Guernsey” were paged and launched on service at 17:37 and 17:49 respectively.

In the meantime, Police Officers managed to get a throw line to the kayakers as they drifted closer to shore at Fort Hommet and pull them to safety. Both kayakers were then placed in the care of St John Paramedics.

The Lifeboats were both back on their moorings by 18:15.

St Peter Port Inshore Lifeboat Launched to Swimmers in Difficulty

At 7:52 am on Tuesday 13th July 2021, Guernsey Coastguard was alerted to 2 swimmers struggling in the tide 100 metres east of Bordeaux Harbour. A Police Officer attended the scene and reported 2 swimmers clinging to a buoy waving to attract attention.

St Peter Port Inshore Lifeboat “Elizabeth and Margaret Milligan” was paged and launched on service at 8:10 am. Several vessels responded to a MAYDAY RELAY broadcast by Guernsey Coastguard.

Deputy Cox Danny Blake was nearby but knew that because of the traffic, there was no point in trying to get to the harbour in time as Second Cox Jason Norman would arrive at the lifeboat station before him. He saw the Police stood on the shore and asked what the problem was.  He borrowed a dinghy and rowed out to the swimmers who were both exhausted, clinging to the outermost buoy.  They held on to the stern of the dinghy and he brought them most of the way back to shore when a powered boat came to assist. 

The Inshore Lifeboat arrived at Bordeaux at 8:19 am and the casualties were transferred across from the motor cruiser before being landed ashore at Bordeaux Harbour where they were checked over by paramedics. The Inshore Lifeboat arrived back on station in St Peter Port at 8:30 am.