Our new boat rescue service has proved to be a valuable one for boat owners this season.
Respond and Assist is a service created by Falmouth Boat Co. (FBC) that helps owners when they have problems with their boats, but are not in life-threatening situations. The service was introduced in spring and welcomed by the RNLI, who called it “a great help to us.”
Boat owners experiencing issues with their vessels while sailing can call FBC, which mobilises a couple of staff best suited to address the problem. If they can fix the boat there and then, they do - but if not, they tow the boat to the safety of a nearby marina or boatyard.
The majority of the call-outs this summer were from St Mawes, Helford and Falmouth Bay, but the service also assisted a visiting yacht St Martin’s in the Scillies.
The engine failed to start, leaving the boat in an exposed situation off the island. A couple of FBC engineers took a power boat to the Isles of Scilly to examine the problem. They towed the yacht to a safe mooring at St Mary’s and installed a new starter motor.
Two-thirds of the season’s call-outs were engine-related and problems with starter motors topped the list.
A few boats needed assistance because they had run out of fuel and some needed a new part which was installed in situ. Just over half of the call-outs resulted in boats being towed to safety.
Managing director of FBC, Jonathan Fielding, said: “Nearly 20 per cent of RNLI’s call-outs are due to mechanical failure rather than life-threatening issues – and that’s where we can help.
“When owners encounter problems, but are not in danger, we can often diagnose and deliver temporary fixes over the phone.
"If that doesn’t work, we get the best equipped team to the boat where we either fix it on the spot or tow the vessel to safety.”
Respond and Assist operates from dawn until dusk, seven days a week and the team aim to get to the boat within the hour.
Call-outs are £50 + VAT or free to Falmouth Haven members.
Sailors can access the Respond and Assist service by calling 01326 374309.