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Inept sailor's boat impounded after five lifeboat call-outs along Sussex coast
An accident-prone sailor who abandoned his stricken ship twice in a matter of days has had his boat impounded by Government officials.
Maritime and Coastguard Agency staff detained a boat at Littlehampton Harbour yesterday morning after its skipper caused five lifeboat call-outs in less than a week.
Lifeboat crews based between Littlehampton and Seaford have been called out to the rescue of the troubled ship since Thursday.
The boat will now remain in Littlehampton until repairs are carried out on the 21ft yacht to make it seaworthy and its skipper receives training.
The boat ran aground outside Littlehampton Harbour on Thursday with its skipper abandoning ship and swimming to shore.
The following day harbour staff towed the boat back into harbour only for the boat to get into more difficulty on Sunday off the Ferring coast.
Again the captain abandoned ship before emergency services could reach his vessel.
Billy Johnson, Littlehampton Harbour master, said: “He has been causing problems between here and Seaford and has caused the RNLI to be called out five times in the last week.
“It is rare that one person can cause lifeguards and harbour staff so many issues. It's a shame that one person can get into such a mess.”
Nick Bell, operations manager for Littlehampton RNLI, said: “We recovered the boat but he had gone.
“Luckily we have two boats as a different boat had got into trouble elsewhere - there was a young boy on-board and he was getting cold.
“Our job is not to rescue property. People need to learn navigation and how to correctly care for their boats. But we will pull anyone out - we are not judgmental.”
Nick White, of Littlehampton RNLI, said: “Boat ownership is largely unregulated and that's a good idea, we don't want red tape everywhere.
“But boat training is widely available and for all levels of capability. Just about everybody involved in boats knows about this.”
A MCA spokesman said that a boat had been detained at Littlehampton Harbour because it was “dangerously unsafe”.
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