SNSM tows yacht in distress in Anguilla channel back to Marigot | THE DAILY HERALD

The dismasted yacht is just visible in the dark as it is towed back to Marigot (SNSM photo)


MARIGOT–French-side sea rescue SNSM towed a 44-ft dismasted yacht and its two occupants back to Marigot from the Anguilla channel after the vessel suffered engine problems during the night of Thursday, July 5, SNSM reported.

The yacht had let off a distress rocket in the Anguilla channel which was seen by a fisherman on the breakwater at Fort Louis Marina who subsequently called the Gendarmerie. Then at 9:15pm the surveillance centre CROSS-AG contacted SNSM to intervene. An SNSM crew of four then departed in the Rescue Star inflatable to investigate in the direction of where the flare was seen. There had been no distress call on the VHF radio.

The SNSM crew located the yacht some 20 minutes later where the occupants of the yacht were very relieved their flare had been seen. Despite the violent pitching of the yacht because of the wind and swells, a tow line was successfully passed to the yacht and a slow tow at about 3.5 knots back to Marigot Bay began.

Rescuers and rescued shook hands on arrival. The yacht crew explained they left Simpson Bay for Marigot late in the afternoon to do engine tests on what was an Irma-damaged yacht. But in Marigot Bay the engine did not want to start after hours of trying and the yacht started drifting. There was no mobile phone on board and the VHF only partially worked but had no range because the mast’s antenna was down with the mast and nobody could hear the distress calls.

SNSM thanked the fisherman for alerting the Gendarmerie and reminded that distress flares should only be activated to report a problem at sea. SNSM volunteers have often fallen victim to false alerts from people having fun with flares without realizing their true purpose, resulting in wasted hours looking for a situation at sea that didn’t exist.

Source: The Daily Herald