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Hectic end to holiday weekend for Eastbourne lifeboats

Lifeboats News Release

The last day of the bank holiday weekend turned out to be the busiest day of the year so far for the volunteer crew of Eastbourne Lifeboats with both boats being launched a total of five times.

Following an early morning start when both boats were launched in response to a report that a car had been driven over the cliffs at Beachy Head (see previous news release), Eastbourne all-weather lifeboat launched again at 2.00pm to assist a 10m yacht which had become entangled in fishing gear in the approaches to Sovereign Harbour. Crewman Dean Parker was transferred to the casualty vessel and together with the yacht’s skipper managed to free the obstruction. The yacht was then able to enter the marina under its own power.


Concerns were raised later in the evening for a lone yachtsman who was attempting to reach harbour but had become confused and disorientated. Reports indicated that he had been at sea since 5am and it was feared exhaustion was taking its toll. Initially Eastbourne inshore lifeboat (ILB) was launched to assess the yachtsman’s condition and guide him to the safety of Sovereign Harbour. Once contact had been made it became clear that additional assistance was required, volunteer crewman Dean Parker was again transferred to the casualty vessel and took the helm in what was becoming challenging conditions whilst the ILB stood by. Meanwhile the crew of Eastbourne’s all-weather lifeboat (ALB), including the station’s doctor, were making ready to launch. The powerful ALB was soon on scene and Dr Stephen Lytton and Coxswain Mark Sawyer transferred to take control of the yacht and attend the skipper. Once in the safety of the marina the skipper was taken ashore for further assessment and his vessel secured by the volunteer lifeboat crew.    

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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Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

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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