The Royal Navy survey ship, HMS Echo provided assistance to RNLI crews as they went to the aid of a yacht in rough conditions.

HMS Echo was carrying out survey work in Babbacombe Bay off the Devon coast when the crew heard the distress call from the yacht.

The two men on board were struggling to get out a clear message because of the 40 knot squalls, so the crew of the Royal Navy survey ship passed information onto the Solent Coastguard.

It activated both the Teignmouth RNLI Atlantic 85 class relief lifeboat and the Exmouth RNLI Shannon class lifeboat.

The two men onboard the 28 foot yacht were on their way to Plymouth when they experienced rough conditions around six nautical miles east of Teignmouth.

The two men had checked the shore weather forecast, but not the sea forecast, and conditions were more difficult than expected.

The skipper and his crew had become tired and decided to call for help at just after 7pm on 28 June.

Upon arrival, the Teignmouth crew assessed the situation and asked for support from Exmouth RNLI, who had been diverted to deal with another incident.

HMS Echo assists the two lifeboat crews

HMS Echo assists the two lifeboat crews. Credit: Exmouth RNLI


A tow was established, with HMS Echo assisting the Teignmouth lifeboat by creating a lee.

This shielded the yacht from the strong wind, while it was being towed back to Teignmouth harbour.

Once the lifeboat and the yacht were in calmer inshore waters, HMS Echo continued with its survey mission along the south coast.

The Exmouth RNLI coxswain, Steve Hockings-Thompson said his crew was tasked to assist as there was a chance the Teignmouth’s Atlantic 85 class may not have been able to tow the yacht in the rough conditions.

“We were lucky that HMS Echo was in the area to assist the work of both our stations’ volunteers,” he added.

The two men were taken to Teignmouth boathouse for after care and spent the evening aboard their yacht on the visitor’s pontoon.