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Sheerness RNLI inshore lifeboat finish tow-in then assist after jet ski capsize

Lifeboats News Release

The crew of the Sheerness ILB had just finished towing one vessel to safety when they came across three men in the water trying unsuccessfully to get back onto a jet ski.

The volunteer crew of the Sheerness RNLI inshore lifeboat Eleanor were called at 4.48pm on Tuesday 26 July to a 6m motor boat, Tanushka, that had broken down in the Medway estuary.

The craft, with two men on board, was located close to the firing range buoys on Grain Spit. The lifeboat crew attached a line and towed the vessel back to its mooring in Queenborough Harbour and the occupants were landed ashore at 6.25pm.

On their way back to station the lifeboat crew came across three men in the water near to Queenborough Spit buoy, very close to the rocks at Lappel Bank.

The men were observed trying to climb back onto a jet ski which then capsized leaving them struggling in the cold water. The crew quickly recovered the men and took them on board the ILB.

All three were suffering from the cold and were wrapped in survival blankets and taken to the all tide landing at Queenborough Harbour where they were landed to await the Sheppey Coastguard crew.

One crew member remained with the three men whilst the lifeboat went to recover the jet ski which had by now drifted closer to the rocks and further towards Garrison Point.

An unsuccessful attempt was made to right it so the craft was taken under tow to the Lower Camber basin in Sheerness Docks.

The lifeboat crew then returned to Queenborough Harbour to collect the crew member who had stayed with the three men only to be informed that they had ‘done a runner’ and disappeared.

The lifeboat returned to station where the owner of the jet ski was waiting along with the Sheppey coastguard crew.

The ILB lifeboat was ready for service again at 8.15pm   

RNLI media contacts

• Vic Booth RNLI Lifeboat Press Officer (Sheerness)  07926904453 / 01795 880544 /

• Tim Ash, RNLI Public Relations Manager (London/East/South East) on 0207 6207426, 07785 296252

• Sophie Coller-Nielsen      Press Officer (London/East/South East), 0207 6207416, 07824 416615 email 

• For enquiries outside normal business hours, contact the RNLI duty press officer on 01202 336789

Key facts about the RNLI

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is the charity that saves lives at sea. Our volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service in the United Kingdom and Ireland from 238 lifeboat stations, including four along the River Thames and inland lifeboat stations at Loch Ness, Lough Derg, Enniskillen, Carrybridge and Lough Ree. Additionally the RNLI has more than 1,000 lifeguards on over 240 beaches around the UK and operates a specialist flood rescue team, which can respond anywhere across the UK and Ireland when inland flooding puts lives at risk.

The RNLI relies on public donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. As a charity it is separate from, but works alongside, government-controlled and funded coastguard services. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824 our lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved at least 140,000 lives. Volunteers make up 95% of the charity, including 4,600 volunteer lifeboat crew members and 3,000 volunteer shore crew. Additionally, tens of thousands of other dedicated volunteers raise funds and awareness, give safety advice, and help in our museums, shops and offices.

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The RNLI is a charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SC037736). Charity number 20003326 in the Republic of Ireland