A yacht had been spotted in the darkness by a passing ship just south of the Liverpool Bar light float at the mouth of the River Mersey.
Attempts to contact the vessel by the Coastguard and the Mersey Marine Operations Control Centre had been unsuccessful.
The volunteer RNLI crew were paged at 4.31am on Wednesday morning and Hoylake’s Shannon class lifeboat Edmund Hawthorn Micklewood launched within minutes before heading to the vessel’s last reported position.
Using the lifeboat’s radar the crew were able to quickly locate the vessel, which was found to be an 8 metre sailing yacht.
A lifeboat crew member was transferred onto the yacht to check whether there were any persons on board.
The yacht was found to be unmanned and was securely locked.
However, a mooring line was still attached to the yacht’s bow.
The lifeboat informed the Coastguard of the vessel’s details and it was confirmed that it had been reported missing from Barrow-in-Furness the previous day.
The yacht had drifted for over 30 miles but miraculously had not sustained any damage.
As the yacht posed a hazard to marine traffic in the Mersey channel, Hoylake Lifeboat took it under tow and brought it to Liverpool Marina.
The lifeboat stood-by with the yacht for several hours until the tide allowed access to the marina, where the yacht was secured by 11.30am.
Meanwhile, the Coastguard informed the yacht’s owner that the vessel had been recovered safely.
With the yacht safely berthed in Liverpool Marina, Hoylake Lifeboat returned to station at 12.15pm to be made ready for her next service.
Hoylake RNLI lifeboat Coxswain Andy Dodd said: “Boat moorings can sometimes break in the winter months when the weather is poor. It’s important that boat owners check their moorings regularly and inform the Coastguard in the event that their vessel goes missing.’
“Fortunately in this case the yacht was registered and as it had been reported missing, the Coastguard were able to quickly determine that there was no immediate risk to life and inform the owner that the boat was safe
“A drifting yacht in a busy commercial channel presents a significant risk to marine traffic so it was vital to secure the vessel quickly.
“We were pleased that we could return the yacht safely to its owner.”
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