The canal narrowboat Orbis got into trouble in the middle of the Bristol Channel after leaving Watchet this morning.

A 60-foot-long canal narrowboat – which got into difficulties on passage from Watchet on the Somerset coast this morning –  has reached Penarth Marina safely after a combined operation involving a Coastguard helicopter, Barry Dock lifeboat and a Cardiff Harbour Authority launch.

It’s understood the skipper of the narrowboat  had radioed for help as his vessel – called Orbis – began taking on water in mid-channel.

The Coastguard Rescue Helicopter – seen here on a training exercise off Penarth only yesterday – was today involved in a real emergency in the middle of the Bristol Channel.

The coastguard rescue helicopter took off to ascertain the vessel’s position and the big Barry Dock lifeboat was tasked to head out to locate her and escort her to Penarth .

A member of Barry Dock’s lifeboat crew boarded the stricken vessel.

Job done. The Barry Dock lifeboat – escorted the canal narrowboat as far as Penarth Pier and then returned to station at Barry.

The  Cardiff Harbour Authority launch “Harbour 3” accompanies the canal narrowboat Orbis past the Outer Wrach buoy and heading for the locks at Cardiff Barrage

Once the lifeboat and the casualty vessel reached a point off Penarth Pier, the escort was transferred to a Cardiff Harbour Patrol boat “Harbour 3”  to tow the narrowboat in through the locks and into Penarth Marina whilst the lifeboat retrieved her crewman and returned to station at Barry.




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  1. Concerned Citizen says:

    That’s not the first time he’s been rescued! According to the ‘Tug Boat’ magazine, he’s been rescued at least twice this Spring, besides today

    • Craig howell says:

      Tug boat magazine??? Pull the other one.😂

      • Concerned Citizen says:

        Correction – I should have said “the Tub Boat” which actually exists and is the magazine of the Bude Canal and Harbour Society. His article is aptly entitled “No Fool like an Old Fool”!

  2. whatsoccurin says:

    saw the “rescue”-the canal boat looked more like a submarine and seemed like it might act like one-but then actor Tim Spaull and his wife started their “round Britain” voyage on a canal barge from Penarth a while ago and they did O.K.

  3. AK says:

    Canal narrowboat – the clue is in the name.

    Designed for canals, with no waves or 14m tides. If you sink in a canal, you can generally jump or wade ashore.

  4. JTR69 says:

    Del Boy, Rodders and Uncle Albert managed to chug to Amsterdam in one once I seem to remember.

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