Uk Coastguard requested the Selsey All-Weather Lifeboat (ALB) launch to the assistance of the 32-foot motor boat, 'Barracuda III'. The three man crew had reported by mobile phone that they had machinery failure and that their position was off Pagham Harbour close inshore.
At 1.42 p.m. on Tuesday 10th January, while the crew were mustering, there was a doubt to the position given as Pagham is visible from the offshore boathouse and no vessels could be seen. The ALB launched at 1.53 p.m. with six volunteers on board and proceeded to the given position, arriving on scene at 2.18 p.m. with still nothing being seen. The weather on scene was wind West North West force 3-4 sea state slight in good visibility.
The Coastguards asked the Lifeboat to search east towards Bognor and said that they had requested the inshore lifeboat (ILB) to launch to assist with the search. They also passed the mobile telphone number of 'Barracuda III' to the lifeboat so that they could contact them and interrogate them as to what they could see. At the same time crewmember Max Gilligan was leaving the station to go back to work and went via the west side of Selsey to check that the vessel was not there. He spotted a craft several miles to the west of Selsey and after contacting the Coxswain on the ALB the Coastguards redirected the ILB to check the west side of Selsey.
After several mobile phone calls to the crew of 'Barracuda III' and with them identifying what they could see and the sighting from the shore, the ILB finally found the vessel 6 miles North West of Selsey Bill approximately 10 miles from the given position. Because of the size of 'Barracuda III' the Coastguards requested Hayling RNLI Lifeboat launch to assist the Selsey ILB. Hayling Lifeboat took the vessel under tow and towed them to Sparkes Mariner in Chichester Harbour.
Both Selsey Lifeboats were released by the Coastguards to return to station and both were rehoused, washed down and refuelled by 5.30 p.m.
ALB CREW: Geoff Mellett (Coxswain), Dave Lamdin (2nd Coxswain), Phil Pitham (Mechanic), Steve Somner, Max Wiseman and Kristina Dolan.
ILB CREW: James Albery (Helmsman), Gary Pearce and Andy Lee.
NOTE: The 'Barracuda III' was purchased last week and was on passage from Leigh on Sea (Essex) to Bournemouth and had all the navigational aids; Radar, Plotter, Radio etc. but none of them was turned on as the crew didn’t know how to use them.