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What does it take? Coastguard frustrated by irresponsible sailors

by This is South Wales/Sail-World Cruising on 24 Jul 2013
Swansea rescue frustrates Coastguard .. .
What does it take to get the message across? The latest rescue, of two British sailors who went to sea without life jackets and without communication facilities of any kind, has frustrated Coastguard officers, who have again pleaded for some common sense on the water. This was after another British sailor died of hypothermia just a couple of weeks ago when he fell off the yacht he had just purchased.

The latest incident involved two sailors who went sailing without any safety equipment in the late afternoon and were pulled from the water off Penclawdd, Swansea in the UK, after their boat capsized and they were left clinging to the bow.

The incident, which happened just before 6pm on Sunday evening just off Crofty point, involved a 17ft sailing boat which had capsized and was under water with the bow and mast only showing.

Crew members of the Loughor Inshore Lifeboat, who were just setting down to a summer barbecue with family and friends when they received the emergency call out, say the two Swansea men were lucky to be reached in time - and would have been swept away had they remained there much longer.

John Edwards, from the Loughor Inshore Lifeboat, said it was vital that people going out on the water were fully equipped.

'The two men had gone out without life jackets, or mobile phones or any safety precautions.

'It was a real rush to get down there, and we went flying down - we were there in less than eight minutes.

'The two men were in the water holding onto the bow.

'The men's hands were white from hanging on.'

Men on two rigid inflatable cockle boats rushed to the stricken boat, and held the men by their forearms to stop them from being carried off by the ebbing tide.

A lifeboat crew member jumped into the water to attach lines to the boat to bring it ashore, while another took control of the broken boom to the mast of the stricken yacht, to release water trapped in the sail causing the yacht to nearly turn over during the ebbing tide.

The second Loughor lifeboat also attended and transferred the two casualties to shore, where coastguards were waiting with stern warnings on why they should have been wearing life jackets.

The stricken yacht, Tulisi, remained moored off at Crofty, still capsized.

Witness Brian Davies, who had been on a jet ski on the water, said: 'If the tide had turned the pair would have been goners.

'Once the rip starts they would have had it. They were very, very fortunate men. The lifeboat crew were life-savers'.

The incident has prompted coastguards to issue yet another warning to water users to be well prepared when going out onto the water.

David Jones, watch manager at Swansea Coastguard in Mumbles, said: 'If you are going out on the water in anything, such as a boat, water bike or kayak, you should always be well prepared. You should check the tides and the weather conditions, and take buoyancy aids, as well as some form of communication so you can raise the alarm.

'A VHF radio is better than a mobile phone, as phones can lose reception pretty quickly, and when you call out on the radio other vessels can hear you.

'It sounds as though these two men were very lucky'.

In the previous incident, Hany Mustapha's dream of sailing around the world ended in tragedy after he fell from a yacht he'd bought hours earlier and died in the cold waters of The Solent, a coroner heard today.

Mr Mustapha, 46, from Worcester Park, Surrey, had just picked up a 21ft sloop bought through eBay and set sail in strong winds from Poole, Dorset, running into trouble minutes later.

The yacht was discovered 'ghosting' hours later, running aground deserted on the Isle of Wight with its engine still running.

A major air and sea search was launched but Mr Mustapha’s body was not found until it washed up on a nearby beach, five days later.

Mr Mustapha was a member of a local motor yachting club on the River Thames and had completed a one-week sailing course in Turkey in 2011.

The father of two was wearing a basic buoyancy aid instead of a self-inflating lifejacket at the time. He was also wearing 'inappropriate' trainers instead of non-slip boating shoes.

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