Passengers rescued during seal watching trip off Norfolk coast

Passengers on seal watching trip to Scroby Sands Great Yarmouth rescued by Caister lifeboat crew.

A seal watching trip to Scroby Sands, off Great Yarmouth, took a dramatic turn when the boat lost power and the passengers, including nine children, had to be rescued by Caister lifeboat crew. - Credit: Mike Page/ Mick Howes

Some 12 passengers on a seal watching trip four miles off the coast had to be rescued.

Caister Lifeboat was called out to the vessel carrying nine children and three adults at around 11.42am, on Wednesday June 1.

Caister lifeboat rescues seal watching boat at Scroby Sands.

A party of 12, including nine children, had to be rescued by Caister Lifeboat after the Jet Adventures' boat Shearwater lost power when a rope became caught in the impella. - Credit: Mick Howes

A spokesman for the independent service said the all-weather boat Bernard Matthews II raced to the scene.

He said the vessel, called Shearwater, had lost power and was in about 2m of water.

The passengers were transferred to the lifeboat and taken to Lowestoft.

Children on a seal-watching trip rescued by Caister lifeboat at Scroby Sands off Great Yarmouth

Children on a seal-watching trip were taken off a boat at Scroby Sands after it lost power and taken to Waveney Dock in Lowestoft by Caister Lifeboat. - Credit: Mick Howes

Two crew remained with the vessel which was towed back.

The spokesman added he believed it was the service's biggest ever passenger rescue, at least in living memory.

jet adventures

Jet Adventures out and about at sea. - Credit: John Kitching

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John Kitching of Jet Adventures, which operates trips to the tourist-draw sand bank several times a day, said there was no panic or drama and everything went as it should in a rescue situation.

He said the engine had cut out after a rope got stuck in the impeller and the lifeboat was called.

"It is a very unusual situation and the first time we have been attached to a lifeboat," he said.

"We do actually raise money for Caister so I suppose in a way we are paying for our own tow.

Scroby Sands resembles a doughnut in this picture from May 2017

Scroby Sands resembles a doughnut in this picture from May 2017 - Credit: Mike Page

"We were sat watching the seals when it happened."

He added one trip was cancelled as a result of the incident but there was no damage to the boat which had been tested and would be back in action the next day, Thursday June 2.

Guy Gibson coxswain of Caister Lifeboat

Caister coxswain Guy Gibson who was at the helm of a lifeboat rescue at Scroby Sands. - Credit: Caister Lifeboat

Guy Gibson, coxswain of Caister Lifeboat, said the crew was able to reach the stricken RIB in around three minutes, as it was on the west side of the bank.

He said the passengers comprised nine children and three adults, most whom thought the rescue added to their day of adventure.

"They were really upbeat," he said.

"They ate all the chocolate we keep on board for the crew. It was a bit of an adventure for them."

However, he said the situation was "precarious" on an ebbing tide which risked the boat running aground and then having to wait until the next high tide to move off the bank.

"It was a different job, and a good job." he said.

Scroby Sands is a haven for seals and clearly marked by a windfarm built in 2004.