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Help, our engine has failed! An ordinary SeaHelp rescue mission in the Netherlands

Towing © Tim de Boer (Netherlands)
© Tim de Boer

SeaHelp, Europe’s largest breakdown service at sea, also maintains in the Netherlands in the Dutch water sports area with Ijssel and Markermeer very popular with Germans and Austrians several operation bases. A membership is worthwhile, as the following mission report on the rescue of a motor yacht on the Markermeer shows .

It was on a normal weekday when the skipper of a 10.5-meter V-drive Menken Newport bass made the WSV Blocq Kuffeler call west of Lelystad on the southeastern shore of the Dutch Markermeer SeaHelp emergency call dialed. The skipper had heard a “strange noise” from the engine propeller, followed by a loud bang, then the boat threatened to drift to shore on Leegerwall.

The SeaHelp response boat, an 8.5-meter inflatable equipped with a powerful 250-horsepower outboard, immediately set out from Edam on the opposite, western side of the Markermeer and arrived at the casualty a short time later. Tim de Boer, who coordinates the rescue operations on behalf of SeaHelp with the boats of his company Reddingsdienst in the Netherlands, found the boat drifting into the shore bushes, but undamaged.


SeaHelp Netherlands: damage to drive shaft © Tim de Boer with colleagues
© Matthias Müncheberg


Shortly after receiving the distress call, the SeaHelp response boat was on the scene

What had happened? “The boat was equipped with a V-Drive”, says Tim de Boer, who has been doing rescue missions in Holland for 16 years. “The V-Drive is a drive system that consists of two shafts, these form a V, hence the name of this drive”. The engine is connected to the transmission shaft via an angular gear, he said. The second drive shaft returns to the stern of the boat, below the engine, to the propeller. The two shafts are connected by an angular gear (which gives a V shape).


Damage to the drive shaft © Tim de Boer (Netherlands)
© Tim de Boer


This is exactly where the problem lay, says rescuer de Boer; the bang heard by the shipwrecked skipper was the propeller shaft, where all the bolts suddenly came loose from the connection to the angular gear. The SeaHelp response team acted quickly: using a towline, the Newport Bass was carefully pulled out of the embankment and then towed to a harbor in nearby Lelystad.

The damaged boat was taken in tow, craned and prepared for repair

“There we craned the boat and prepared for a repair of the gearbox”, says Tim de Boer after the mission. At the same time, he already has the cell phone on his ear again. He says a friendly goodbye, starts the outboard of his dinghy and goes on his way – to another mission on Dutch waters.

SeaHelp currently operates four operations centers at watersports hotspots in the Netherlands

“Currently we operate together with Dutch partners on site four bases at the water sports hotspots of the Netherlands, these are located in Stavoren, Enkhuizen, Edam and Muiderzand”, says SeaHelp managing director Wolfgang Dauser.



He added that SeaHelp offers its proven, professional services around the clock in a water sports area that is particularly popular with German sport skippers. “A membership with Europe’s largest breakdown service is worthwhile in any case, if you are traveling by boat in Holland”, says Wolfgang Dauser.

The SeaHelp principle “All for one, one for all” offers the safety of the individual within the framework of a large community of safety-conscious skippers, says Wolfgang Dauser. Smaller and larger breakdowns can occur quickly, for example, when sailing on the Ijssel or the Markermeer, where many skippers sail without a license or liability insurance. Then it becomes mostly expensive and the vacation joy is gone.

“Against this background, it is always worthwhile to know the protective umbrella of the SeaHelp network over you and to have a partner at your side who helps quickly and easily in emergency situations,” says Wolfgang Dauser. This applies also and especially to the Netherlands.

The bases Stavoren, Enkhuizen, Edam and Muiderzand in the Netherlands are operated jointly with the Dutch SeaHelp partner Reddingsdienst. Helpline phone number for the Netherlands: 0043 50 43 112.

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