LIFE-SAVING volunteers from two separate lifeboat stations joined forces to tackle a “tricky” eight-hour operation involving three stranded yachts.

Crews members from the Walton and Frinton Lifeboat Station initially received a mayday call at about 11.30am on Friday.

They were informed two yachts had run aground 14-miles south east of the station before immediately launching the all-weather lifeboat.

After setting off into moderate waters and a falling tide, the crew received a further report of an additional boat suffering the safe fate in the same area.

Given the number of casualties in desperate need of urgent assistance, a team from the Clacton Lifeboat Station also had to be deployed.

After hearing the mayday call another boat had attempted to help the stranded yachts but the lack of water prevented them from getting close enough.


Once at the scene, crews found one of the yachts had managed to re-float, but the two other yachts were continuing to be pushed up the sand bank.

After making contact with the casualties, overcoming several hurdles and a multi-team effort, the boats were safely and slowly pulled them back into the sea.

One of the yachts was found to have experienced a rudder failure so it had to be towed back to the nearest safe haven while the other was escorted to Brightlingsea.

At this point the crisis had seemingly been averted, but then one of the passengers started to experience severe sea sickness and required first aid treatment.

A spokesman for the RNLI said: “A Clacton crew member already aboard was joined by a Walton crew member to provide oxygen and medical treatment.

“As the conditions improved and the seas flattened the casualty continued to receive treatment and the crew member returned to their lifeboat.”

After safely securing the yacht undertow and ensuring the health of the passenger, the Walton lifeboat crew returned to the station – eight hours after the call out.

“With three potential vessels in trouble and their associated passengers aboard we knew this could be a tricky operation,” added the RNLI spokesman.

“But by combining our volunteer crew resources from two stations we worked closely and achieved a good outcome for everyone.

“It demonstrates the team work that embodies everything we do as volunteers and as an organisation.

“We urge everyone who is planning to enjoy our waters around Essex to check tide times, consult with up to date charts and always have a way of contacting authorities should you run into trouble.”

Both of the stations' lifeboats were successfully recovered and readied back for service shortly after completing this shout.