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Sheerness and Southend RNLI lifeboats assist in Thames estuary rescue.

Lifeboats News Release

Volunteer crews from the Sheerness and Southend RNLI lifeboats were called to assist a craft that had run aground on the notorious Maplin Sands

The Sheerness all weather lifeboat (ALB), The George and Ivy Swanson, launched at 9.56pm on Tuesday 4 September to assist an 18 foot sailing vessel, the ‘Emma Jane’ with two people on board that was reported to be hard aground on the Maplin Sands in the Thames estuary some 11 miles off Sheerness.

The lifeboat reached the scene at 10.40pm and joined the Southend lifeboat which was already on the scene and had managed to put a crew member over to the casualty craft.

Coastguard Rescue helicopter 163 had also arrived at the scene and proceeded to lift the two occupants from the craft from where they were taken to Southend airport.

Due to tidal conditions it was not possible to move the craft from its position, so with an anchor laid out it was left where it was.

With conditions in the estuary worsening the Sheerness lifeboat provided safety cover for the smaller Southend lifeboat on its return passage back to base at Southend Pier.

The lifeboat was back on station at 11.57pm.

Earlier in the day at 3.20pm the lifeboat had launched to reports of a vessel sinking at Rochester.

No further information as to the size of the vessel or how many people were on board was given at the time of the call.

Whilst on route further information was received stating that the vessel was tied up alongside a mooring and that there were no people on board.

The lifeboat was stood down at 3.55pm with no further action being taken and returned to station at 4.52pm.

It was later ascertained that the craft in question was the old motor tug ‘Sir Thomas Pudding’ which the crew had been called out to on a number of occasions previously. 

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

•  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