HMS Echo assists stricken vessel

HMS Echo has assisted a yacht that became stranded in strong winds just off the UK South Coast.

The Plymouth-based Survey Vessel worked together with the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) and Solent Coast Guard station to come to the aid of the yacht which had become distressed and unable to make headway in strong winds.

The Royal Navy warship was conducting Survey Operations in the Western English Channel when it overheard a distress call from the struggling sailor to Solent Coast Guard. 

The yacht was unable to get a clear message out, due to being battered by 40 knot squalls whilst attempting to cross Lyme Bay - HMS Echo followed up the call by passing vital information to the Coast Guard, who quickly activated the RNLI.

Making way towards the yacht, as her master struggled against the elements, HMS Echo’s crew continued to provide information to the RNLI helping the Inshore Lifeboat launched from Teignmouth to locate the vessel quickly.

The sea is a dangerous place to operate. As the Royal Navy, one of our core roles is to save lives at sea when necessary.

Lieutenant Commander Tom Becker, Operations Officer HMS Echo

As the RNLI took the yacht under tow the warship provided a lee; shielding the boats from the harsh winds, as she escorted them back towards Teignmouth. The trio were then joined by the Offshore Lifeboat from Exmouth, which offered further reassurance as the group headed towards land.

HMS Echo’s Operations Officer, Lieutenant Commander Tom Becker was Officer of the Watch at the time of the incident and first to hear the distress call.

He said, “It was too small a yacht in too strong a wind. The sea is a dangerous place to operate. As the Royal Navy, one of our core roles is to save lives at sea when necessary. 

"Thankfully this proved to be a relatively minor incident but it could have been much worse. I am glad that we were able to assist and work closely together with the RNLI and Her Majesty’s Coast Guard.” 

Having guided the lifeboat and her tow into calmer inshore waters, HMS Echo parted company and headed back out to sea to continue with her Surveying Mission along the South Coast.