Preston woman's sea horror after falling overboard whilst sailing yacht alone at night

A Preston woman who was sailing her yacht alone at night in the Irish Sea nearly died after she fell overboard and was left watching her boat speed away on autopilot.

By Matthew Calderbank
Friday, 24th June 2022, 4:29 pm
Updated Friday, 24th June 2022, 4:35 pm

The woman, who has not been named, was sailing her yacht single-handed when she went overboard at around 2.30am on Friday, June 17.

She was returning to her mooring at Preston Marina after sailing to the Isle of Man and was about 12 nautical miles north-west of Blackpool when she fell overboard.

Stranded alone in the freezing waters, she watched in horror as her yacht sailed away on autopilot.

Luckily, she was equipped with a lifejacket and a Personal Locator Beacon (PLB), which she was able to activate to alert rescue teams to her location.

HM Coastguard immediately put out a MAYDAY broadcast to all vessels in the area and a rig supply ship made its way to where she was found floating alone in the darkness.

The crew spotted her flashing a distress light from two nautical miles away and were able to rescue her within an hour of her going overboard.

She was then passed into the care of Fleetwood’s RNLI team and was taken ashore by lifeboat to be checked over by North West Ambulance Service.

The woman, from Preston, was sailing alone at night when she fell overboard into the Irish Sea

The search and rescue helicopter from Caernarfon in North Wales was also sent to help with the search and managed to locate her yacht as it continued to sail towards the Lancashire coast.

It was intercepted by the other local vessels and towed back to shore by Lytham lifeboat crew.

A spokesman for Preston Marina said: “Last week, one of our boat-owners who was sailing back from the Isle Of Man alone in good weather at night, fell overboard while the boat sailed on, on autopilot.

“She was in the water for over an hour.

“Her life was saved because she was wearing a good life jacket - and had a Personal Locator Beacon (PLB).

“The PLB sent an electronic distress signal to the Coastguard, with her exact position. Otherwise she had no way of raising an alert and calling for help.

"She is very shaken, a bit bruised, but she is OK thankfully.”

Read More

Read More
Preston man Simon Wood who was locked up in a “hell hole” prison on the paradise...

Joel Harding, senior coastal operations officer, added: "She undoubtedly had her life saved using a PLB and the other safety equipment she was wearing.

“It goes to show the importance of being prepared. If you fall into the sea, it may be difficult to find you, even in moderate swell. It will even be worse if no-one sees you go into the water.

“These devices significantly improve how quickly and accurately your location is available and provides the best chance for a rescue.”