16 rowers rescued in round Great Britain challenge.

UPDATE 16 Rowers Now Rescued. 

Update - Sunday June 26 13:15pm 

Third rowing vessel with five crew rescued in deteriorating weather conditions in the Irish Sea 

The third and final crew from the GB Row Challenge that left Tower Bridge London on the 12th June, to circumnavigate Great Britain and to collect environmental data has been rescued. 

The vessel had been monitored throughout the night by HM Coastguard with frequent radio transmissions. 

During a check at 7:00am the rowers explained they had capsized and righted themselves, but were unable to row. The rowers were 23 nautical miles North East of Ardglass. 

The Newcastle RNLI lifeboat from Northern Ireland was sent and established a tow. The rowers arrived in  Ardglass and were be met by Newcastle Coastguard Rescue Team. One rower will checked over by Northern Ireland Ambulance Service. 

Previous statement released Sunday (26th) 00:30am

HM Coastguard has coordinated the rescue of 11 rowers from two separate rowing vessels as they encountered bad weather in the Celtic and Irish Seas.

HMCG Stock Image 

The two vessels were attempting to row around Great Britain, both starting their journey’s from London on 12th June 2022.

The first call for assistance came into HM Coastguard on Friday (24 June) just before 18:30, when first vessel’s   shore contact reported they’d lost communications with the vessel.

The five rowers onboard the first vessel left London 13 days ago. Their last known position was 42.5 nautical miles West of St Ann’s Head, Pembrokeshire.

HM Coastguard issued broadcasts to all vessels in the area requesting them to keep a sharp look out, due to the position of the vessel the Irish Coast Guard also issued broadcasts.

A ferry reported seeing a rowing boat and was able to establish radio communications. The rowers confirmed they were safe, but fatigued and were concerned about worsening weather conditions. The rowers along with their shore contact made the decision to head to Wexford, Ireland with both HM Coastguard and the Irish Coast Guard monitoring the situation.

At around midnight on Friday, the vessel sustained damage to its rudder. Angle RNLI lifeboat was sent and able to attach a tow. Due to the offshore location and delicacy needed in the towing the lifeboat was out for nearly 12 hours, arriving with the rowers and their vessel in Milford Haven just before 12:30 this afternoon (25 June). Although fatigued the rowers did not need medical assistance.

Footage of Red Bay RNLI Lifeboat rescuing 
five rowers from second vessel

The second rowing vessel called for assistance at 16:00 Saturday afternoon (25th June), stating it was in the Irish Sea and unable to row due to worsening weather conditions.

The rowing vessel with six people onboard was approximately 18 nautical miles North East of Larne, Northern Ireland, when it got into difficulty. Weather on scene was gale force 8 and rough seas.

The Red Bay RNLI Lifeboat, the Coastguard Rescue helicopter 199 from Prestwick and a tanker in the local area were sent.

Just after 23:00 Saturday evening the rowers were able to board the lifeboat, all are safe and well and making their way to shore.

There is a third rowing vessel, that also left London on the 12th June, that currently in the Irish Sea. It does not require assistance at this time and is continuing the journey. HM Coastguard is in regular communications with the vessel and will continue to monitor the situation.

Alex Smith, Commander at HM Coastguard said, 

‘The rowers were well prepared, they had all the appropriate safety equipment, a VHF radio and satellite phone but they still got caught out. Most importantly they had a shore contact, who was able to raise the alarm after communications were lost with first vessel.

‘Whether you are rowing across the sea, sailing along the coast or going out for a paddle, always be prepared, check the weather, take the appropriate safety equipment and means of calling for help. Always tell someone where you are going and when you plan to come back.’  

‘Remember if you see someone in difficulty at sea or along the coast call 999 and ask for the Coastguard.’

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