Ramsgate RNLI crews were called in to help a grounded pilot boat at Broadstairs last night (December 7).
At 7:41 p.m., the Inshore vessels David and Claire Delves as well as the All Weather Windsor Runner (Civil Service No.42) were launched after reporting that a boat had taken on the water which had run aground at Viking Bay. The grounding was deliberate because of the amount of water carried on board.
Upon arrival, two ILB crew members boarded in appalling conditions as Storm Barra made its presence known with gusts of up to 52 knots (a force 9) in the southwest , and a large emergency pump was embarked to pump the water, watched by a large crowd on Broadstairs Pier.
Once the pump was running, the Offshore removed the tow rope from the All Weather, as this boat could not approach the victim due to the lack of depth as the tide declined.
They took one end of the tow, up tide to the motor due to the drag of the tow cables, and tied it to the victim, then the All Weather towed them into deeper water. Once in deeper water, the All Weather transferred the towline to her stern, then towed the victim to the safety of Ramsgate.
Once back in port, the victim was able to make her own way to the transport winch to be taken out of the water for inspection by port staff. The two RNLI boats then returned to the station.
The pilot boat Estuary Leader took on water after being pierced on the port bow.
A Ramsgate RNLI spokesperson said: “It must have seemed very dramatic to the people looking out onto the harbor, especially given the conditions. However, this is what we are trained for and we have all the necessary equipment and waterproof clothing thanks to the generosity of the public, because we are only funded by donations.