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Water ingress! A normal working day for the SeaHelp mission team on the Costa Brava

SeaHelp mission: water ingress in a boat - Salvamentos Maritimos
Photo: SeaHelp Costa Brava

SeaHelp, the nautical breakdown service, also offers its rescue services from Empuriabrava in the Catalan province of Girona. This is a good thing, because recently, together with Salvamentos Maritimos (a Spanish sea rescue cruiser) and the Mossos (the Catalan police), the sinking of a pleasure boat with three people including pets on board was prevented during a water incursion operation.

Empuriabrava (Spanish: Ampuriabrava), is not only a sub-location of the municipality of Castelló d’Empúries on the Gulf of Roses in the province of Girona in Catalonia (Spain), the marina of the settlement, located about two kilometers from Castelló d’Empúries, is also home to the SeaHelp base of our response team for the area of Costa Brava.

Base manager is the water sports enthusiast, passionate diver and ISO-certified boat expert Axel Albrot, who can be on the scene in minutes when he receives an emergency call with his Humber 850 response boat (boat length 8.50 meters), which is equipped with a 5.7-liter Volvo Penta diesel inboard engine and is used for all types of relief operations.

“The boat not only has a large bollard at the stern, which has been used to hang 100-ton boats, we also have one of the most modern plotters, as well as AIS on board, three radios and, of course, tools to provide rapid assistance”. In addition, there are also special fire extinguishers on board for all cases, gasoline, diesel, as well as a booster for empty batteries, describes Axel Albrot his practical emergency boat.


SeaHelp mission: water ingress into a boat - Operations Manager Axel Albrot, Costa Brava
Photo: SeaHelp Costa Brava


A recreational boat had heavy water intrusion offshore – deployment for SeaHelp Costa Brava

Word seems to have gotten out on the Costa Brava, because on a quiet summer Sunday this year, a local boat mechanic contacted SeaHelp Costa Brava via Whatsapp to say that a recreational boat off the coast was experiencing heavy water intrusion and needed urgent assistance (see to water ingress on board already our news of 31/08/2021).


SeaHelp mission: water ingress into a boat - emergency call
Photo: SeaHelp Costa Brava


Albrot responded immediately, replying that in the event of water ingress, it was imperative that the Salvamentos Maritimos, the Spanish sea rescue cruiser, be called first, he said, in order to be able to avoid environmental damage. Albrot was then told that the Spanish rescuers had already been informed, but that they would need about an hour before leaving.


SeaHelp mission: water ingress into a boat - Costa Brava response boat
Photo: SeaHelp Costa Brava


Albrot didn’t hesitate for long, jumped into the lifeboat that sits with him just outside his house on the canal, started his powerful six-liter engine and headed through the canals toward the harbor exit. At the height of the harbor exit, he saw an ambulance with an emergency doctor who had been called there for the same incident. Albrot increased speed after leaving the harbor exit behind, and only ten minutes later he reached the damaged boat, which was in danger of sinking due to water ingress.

SeaHelp rescuer Axel Albrot took the damaged boat in tow – preventing further water ingress

A small, six-meter-long, private dinghy had already taken two of the three crew members, two women as well as two dogs, on board (one man had remained on board the average to be able to steer it). The dinghy skipper tried with a (very thin) rope to tow the eight-meter-long pleasure craft, which Albrot estimated already had “at least a ton” of water in its hull due to the water ingress – without success.

Albrot took over the boat: “because with my professional rope and the strong engine, I was able to tow the boat so fast that it got buoyancy from the ride and could not sink any further”, said the SeaHelp rescuer. Five minutes later, the Mossos, the Catalan police, arrived at the scene of the accident. At the bow of the police boat was a policeman in neoprene, ready to enter the water immediately.


SeaHelp mission: water ingress into a boat - towing
Photo: SeaHelp Costa Brava


Albrot explained to him that this was not necessary, because the crew of the boat, which had been damaged by water ingress, along with associated dogs (except for the skipper) were already safely accommodated on another inflatable boat- and no one was injured. The entire rescue operation was now coordinated on radio channel 6. Finally, the Spanish rescue boat also arrived, whose staff was pleased that “everything is going well”.

The Catalan police and Spanish sea rescuers thanked SeaHelp for its assistance and expressed interest in increased cooperation

The Spanish rescuers stated over the radio that they would accompany the SeaHelp response boat to the port to provide assistance if necessary. Just before entering the harbor, the skipper of the boat, which was being towed because of water ingress, asked for a pump, whereupon the captain of the Salvamentos Maritimos took over, as he said he had a powerful pump on board. They took the average alongside and began to pump the water out of the boat.



The Catalan police were pleased with the professional assistance provided by the SeaHelp response boat: who knows what would have happened to the damaged boat if the SeaHelp boat had not arrived at the scene of the accident within a very short time? The police officers politely asked if it would be possible to contact the SeaHelp rescuers also in future emergencies on the water and ask for assistance, which Albrot gladly answered in the affirmative.


SeaHelp mission: water ingress in a boat - Police Mossos
Photo: SeaHelp Costa Brava


And when Albrot finally, returning from his mission to his jetty, was about to tie up his lines, the captain of the Salavmentos Maritimos called, thanked him personally for the mission and gave the phone number of the rescue control center in Barcelona, so that SeaHelp could contact there in case of an emergency, in order to be able to provide increased assistance in future rescue missions on the Costa Brava.

Contact SeaHelp Costabrava: Axel Albrot, Quermançó 18, 17487 Empuriabrava / Girona, Spain. Tel. +34 605 150719 SeaHelp Costabrava, Mail:,


24h EMERGENCY CALL EUROPE: 0043 50 43 112

In an emergency, SeaHelp’s response boats can be called using the handy SeaHelp app, or by calling the free emergency number for Europe 0043 50 43 112 (or the alternative emergency number for Europe 00385 919 112 112.

Download SeaHelp app:

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