Don’t Panic Mr Mainwaring!

January 6, 2014 at 6:21 pm

I’ve been meaning to make a Mayday procedure card, to laminate and have by the radio, for a while now.  There’s lots to be found on the internet and you can download mine here.

Although I’ve heard a few Maydays (mainly in the Solent – not a joke!), in all my sailing “career” I’ve been on boats “assisted” by the Coastguard on 3 occasions:

1) Age 4(?) we were lost the rudder pin (and rudder) on our Shetland Fishing Smack in Langstone Harbour, right opposite the Coastguard Station who saw us and launched the inshore boat without being requested.

2) Age 23 off Sylt in the German Bight we were on passage from Esbjerg to Helgoland when a sudden unforecast gale came through and skipper (Dad) decided we would try to seek shelter in Sylt, except we only had a large scale fishing chart of this mid-section of our passage and we couldn’t find the harbour entrance in the dark, in a force 8 on a lee shore.  After a few hours of tacking backwards and forwards in the dark trying to find the lit stick to mark the channel entrance, with the sound of the waves crashing on the beach in one ear, we radio’d in for directions and they launched to come and guide us in. When we’d tied up we realised that all the lockers were open and every single item we had was on the sole floor and we both had massive headaches.  And then the Coxwain’s wife showed up with breakfast for us.

3) Then a few years later we had an issue in The Wash one time; Combination of a rising headwind and a very short sea meant that we were not making much way and risked missing our tide gate.  Then the skipper (Dad) had a bit of a medical emergency. Medical advice was sought from the Coastguard, and then Spurn Point lifeboat was launched, and before we knew it Spanish Dave had landed on the foredeck of our Trapper 500 with a massive thud, in his rigger boots and with a tow rope in one hand. This was then fastened to the bow, and he then went below to make us all tea while told us the story of his nickname and we were towed into Grimsby and a waiting ambulance.

Hopefully I will never need this card…

Torbay Lifeboat RNLI

Torbay Lifeboat (Courtesy Chris Slack)