Both the RNLI and coastguard went to the aid of the yacht struggling in dangerous surf on Saturday

An eight ton yacht and their crew were involved in a complicated rescue after they became stranded in dangerous surf near Southport.

The group became stranded in heavy surf off Altcar beach on the Sefton Shore on Saturday afternoon.

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The 83-year-old eight ton yacht was on its way to Rhyl when the engine cut out from overheating and all power was lost. The vessel also began taking on water but fortunately the yacht’s pump was able to cope with the ingress.

Merlin’s crew were able to alert the coastguard to their precarious situation before losing radio communication, with an RNLI lifeboat and rescue helicopter launching to the scene around 5.30pm.

Senior helmsman Dave Lowe said: “Although conditions at New Brighton were fairly calm when we launched, it was a different matter when we eventually found the yacht stranded on Taylor’s Bank, a large sandbank to the north of the Crosby Channel.

“The yacht was being pounded by heavy surf on the incoming tide and we could only get about 100m from them as the water was too shallow. With no radio communications between us and too far for shouts to be heard we requested that the helicopter to should collect anyone who ended up in the sea. We learned that Southport’s independent lifeboat was also on the way.”

After around 20 minutes, the lifeboat had enough depth to get close to the yacht, but they still faced a challenge in getting crewmen aboard amid the rough conditions.

“Their crew had put down anchors to try and stabilise the situation but the yacht was rising and falling about 10ft and bottoming out when falling,” added Mr Lowe.

“Large waves crashed over both craft and at one point Tim Weare was nearly washed overboard from the deck of the yacht. It was impossible to recover the anchors so the lines were cut and we took the yacht in tow and into deeper water. Meanwhile the coastguard helicopter had arrived, as had the Southport lifeboat.

“With Southport as escort we towed it to New Brighton and our awaiting beach crew where we were going to ground the yacht on the beach. I am very proud of my crew, they did a great job in difficult and very dangerous conditions.”

Yacht beaching Southport

After reaching shore, the yacht was beached using a tractor and launch trailer before crews began the process of pumping out the excess water.

New Brighton Lifeboat operations manager Graham Sale, who oversaw the rescue, said: “This was a long, difficult and dangerous job for all involved and great credit goes to the seamless working between all the agencies involved and in particular between ourselves and Southport’s crew and the Crosby coastguard team who had eyes on the scene and did a first class job with communications relay.

“Full credit also to our beach crew and tractor drivers who did a sterling job getting the yacht safely to shore and secured.”