Three lifeboats and approximately 25 volunteer lifeboat crew from Portishead, Barry and Penarth were involved in bringing this broken-down boat back to Cardiff at a cost yet to be calculated .(RNLI Facebook photo)

No fewer than three different lifeboats were in action last night to bring a broken-down cabin-cruiser  back to Cardiff Bay.

The disabled vessel was first of all taken under tow by the Portishead lifeboat . The tow was then taken over by the all-weather Barry Dock lifeboat and the final stage of the operation was undertaken by Penarth’s Atlantic 85 lifeboat Maureen Lilian.

The operation was completed successfully at 23:25 last night and all on board the broken-down boat were reported to be safe and well.

The operation – a costly one in terms of resources for a charity like the RNLI which relies entirely on donations from the public – is likely to revive the debate about a proper commercial towage business being set up in the Bristol Channel to operate as a paid-for sea-going “AA” breakdown service – such as the franchised national TowBoatUS service in the United States.

TowBoatUS operates on a membership basis like the AA – but also tows-in non-members at a set charge. The service also puts out fires, handles oil spills and pulls grounded boats out of shallows. 

TowBoatUS has 500,000 subscribing members, operates around the clock and attends 70,000 boat breakdowns and groundings every year.

There are now more than 3,500 private pleasure craft  based in Cardiff Bay and Penarth Marina with hundreds more berthed at Portishead Marina, Newport,  Barry and other channel ports .

The RNLI has the declared aim of reaching 90% of all casualties within 10 nautical miles of the coast, within 30 minutes of a lifeboat launch in any weather . An increasing number of RNLI calls are to vessels with mechanical breakdowns –  but any one of them has the potential to escalate into a life-and-death emergency.

About NewsNet

Penarth Daily News email address . Penarth Daily News is an independent free on-line fair and balanced news service published by NewsNet Ltd covering the town of Penarth in the Vale of Glamorgan, Wales, UK. All our news items are based on the information we receive or discover at the time of publication and are published on the basis that they are accurate to the best of our knowledge and belief at that time. Comments posted on the site by commentators reflect their opinions and are not necessarily shared, endorsed or supported by Penarth Daily News.
This entry was posted in Penarth Daily News. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Victor Y says:

    Regarding the debate about the breakdown recovery service for boats that you mention; who is it that is considering this exactly? Is this something the various councils, on both sides of the Bristol channel, are looking in to or is it part of the RNLI?

    I know of at least one such service which operates out of Southampton but there are considerably more boats there so I would be surprised if there would be enough people willing to pay in South Wales / South West England to make it a financially viable business here.

  2. whatsoccurin says:

    interesting-saw a documentary with Ben Fogle-he visited couples in isolated places and one couple,I think in Alaska, or may have been Africa, said they did worry about accident or illness so they paid a premium to a rescue service who agreed to get them to hospital within a set time-perhaps RNLI should consider something similar.

Comments are closed.