PASSENGERS taking a leisurely trip out to sea on Whitby’s retired lifeboat got more than they bargained for when the vessel was required to take part in a real life rescue.
Just as the Mary Ann Hepworth, skippered by Barry Snedden, was about to head back to shore following a steady sail in the sunshine on Sunday afternoon the crew noticed a distress flare being fired further out at sea.
Despite being 73 years-old the Mary Ann Hepworth steamed into action and located a boat which was partly submerged with two men on board trying to bail the water out.
Mr Snedden immediately informed the coastguard and Whitby’s inshore lifeboat was launched closely followed by the current all weather lifeboat.
The two men joined passengers on board the big orange pleasure boat and were brought safely back into Whitby while the in-shore lifeboat towed the stricken 16 feet fishing boat back under the watchful eye of the all weather boat.
Mr Snedden said: “It was nearly underwater. There was a guy stood on the back and another frantically bailing it out.
“The boat would have only floundered for another two minutes before it went underwater. The lifeboat would have got there but they would have been in the water and the boat would have gone.
“Mary Ann Hepworth is 73 and still working and I used to be on the crew myself and remembered exactly what to do.
“The passengers thought it was brilliant. They got to see a real rescue and the two other boats and how everything works.”