Distressed yachtsmen rescued by Eastbourne RNLI lifeboat

Lifeboats News Release

Eastbourne’s all-weather lifeboat launched late last night in response to a distress call from the crew of a passing yacht which was drifting dangerously close to the busy shipping lanes in the Dover Straits.

The Dutch registered barge

RNLI/Eastbourne

The Dutch registered barge

Whilst 10 miles offshore the four person crew aboard their Dutch-registered 45ft yacht became anxious when the wind dropped and the engine of their vessel became seriously overheated and had to be shut down.

Drifting perilously close to the busy shipping lanes they were conscious of the danger they were in from large ships passing at speed in the darkness. In desperation they contacted UK Coastguard for assistance who immediately requested the assembly of Eastbourne’s volunteer lifeboat crew.

At 10.15pm Eastbourne’s all-weather lifeboat Diamond Jubilee left harbour making full speed to the yacht’s position. When on scene Deputy Coxswain Ian Stringer transferred to the yacht to assess the situation and prepare the vessel for a tow to safety.

The decision was taken to tow the stricken vessel back to Eastbourne for engine repairs. Arriving back at Sovereign Harbour in the early hours of Tuesday morning (9 November) during a sudden squall producing driving rain and strong winds, the yacht was delivered to the safety of the marina locks.

The volunteer crew then refuelled the lifeboat and made it ready for service, eventually returning to their homes at 1am to get some well deserved rest before returning to their ‘day jobs’.

Notes to editors

Eastbourne has celebrated over 185 years as a lifeboat station and currently operates an all-weather Tamar Class lifeboat ‘Diamond Jubilee’ and an inshore D-Class lifeboat ‘Laurence and Percy Hobbs’.

RNLI media contacts For more information please contact

  • Bob Jeffery, Eastbourne RNLI Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer, on 07802 878017 LPObob@btinternet.com
  • Tim Ash, RNLI Public Relations Manager (London/East/South East) on 0207 6207426, 07785 296252 tim_ash@rnli.org.uk for enquiries outside normal business hours, contact the RNLI duty press officer on 01202 336789

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 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.

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Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or or by email.

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