Boat rescue service takes pressure off RNLI

The Falmouth Boat Co. ‘respond and assist’ service could save the RNLI up to 20% of its callouts. Photo: Falmouth Boat Co.

A Falmouth boatyard has launched a ‘respond and assist’ service that helps boat owners who have problems with their boats, but who are not in immediate danger.

Falmouth Boat Co. staff, based in Flushing, aims to get to troubled vessels in a highly equipped rigid-inflatable boat in less than an hour from the initial call. The service could save the RNLI up to 20% of its callouts.

“If a boat is disabled but is not in an emergency situation, we can help,” said Jonathan Fielding, managing director of Falmouth Boat Co. “If we find it to be an emergency, we contact the coastguard – but if not, we make sure that the crew are safe and we arrange to carry out repairs as required.”

In demand

Over a period of ten days in August, the team had eight call-outs. The majority of these incidents involved engine failure, leaving sailors stranded.

A spokesperson for the RNLI said: “Mechanical failure is the single biggest cause of rescue call outs to sailing and motor cruisers, accounting for nearly 20 per cent of all our lifeboat launches.”

The service is available from dawn until dusk, every day and there is an out of hours alert service.

Call-outs cost £50 but are free to Falmouth Haven clients.

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