The day started early for Eastbourne RNLI’s volunteer crew (21 April) first with a dawn lift-out of the all-weather lifeboat for routine maintenance and antifouling then a call-out to assist a disabled yacht
Eastbourne all-weather lifeboat Diamond Jubilee was lifted out of the water early in the morning for its routine inspection and maintenance. Crew and supporters turned up in overalls armed with wire brushes and paint rollers and set to work removing marine growth and renewing the antifouling. With a good job done the lifeboat was craned back into the water shortly after 4pm. In less than two hours the pagers summoned the weary crew to launch to an emergency off Beachy Head.
A 30ft yacht was returning to Eastbourne with two people on board when it suffered engine failure. Unable to sail against wind and tide, rapidly going backwards and with no electrical power to radio for help, the skipper had to resort to a mobile phone to call for assistance. Fortunately there was a mobile signal and eventually HM Coastguard was alerted who requested Eastbourne RNLI to respond. Leaving Sovereign Harbour at low tide the lifeboat with its volunteer crew set out to rendezvous with the yacht some 2 miles south of Beachy Head. Soon on scene a line was attached and the yacht was slowly towed back to Sovereign Harbour. When there was sufficient water under the yachts keel it was taken into the safety of the marina locks. The lifeboat was refuelled and made ready for service with the crew finally returning to their families at 9pm after a long hard day.
Key facts about the RNLI
The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates over 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and, in a normal year, more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.