Sheerness RNLI lifeboat crews are called out whilst attending their annual Open
Both Sheerness lifeboats were called out whilst celebrating the stations Open Day at Queenborough Harbour
The first call came late in the evening of Saturday 19 August when the ILB was launched at 11.04pm after a report from the UK Coastguard said that they had received a call by mobile phone from a man saying that his jet ski had broken down and he was somewhere in The Swale near Queenborough and needed help.
After a short search the man was located aboard his craft when the crew spotted the light from his mobile phone.
A tow line was attached and the craft was towed to the all tide landing in Queenborough Harbour and the crew returned to station at 12.52 am
The second call came at 10.35 am on Sunday 20 August when the UK Coastguard called for the all weather lifeboat to launch after reports that a yacht was in difficulties in the Thames estuary.
The ALB responded immediately as it was already under way to Queenborough Harbour to attend the stations Open Day.
The call was to a 10 metre yacht ‘Moonbeam’ with three people on board that was reported to be located in the area of the Knock John Tower which is some 17 nautical miles from the lifeboat station off the Essex coast near Harwich.
The casualty was located at 11.35 am, a tow line was immediately attached and slow progress was made back to Queenborough where they arrived at 2.50pm with lots of people waiting to meet the crew and look over the ALB.
Whilst the ALB was attending this call the crew of the inshore lifeboat, having arrived at Queenborough for the open day, received a call at 11.20 am from the UK Coastguard reporting that the yacht ‘Echo’ was in trouble after fouling mooring lines at the entrance to the harbour.
Along with the harbour masters vessel the crew quickly located the craft and with two crew members in the water they managed to cut through the snagged lines and release the vessel.
At the owners request an attempt was then made to tow the vessel to Crundalls Wharf so that when the tide was low enough an inspection of the fouled propeller could be carried out.
Unfortunately with the tide on the ebb the yacht grounded approximately 200 yards from the wharf and with help from other lifeboat crew members who waded out to the vessel it was made secure to await the next high water.
All this took place in front of the many visitors to the open day who thought it was a demonstration for their benefit.
The open day itself was very well attended and even the lack of lifeboats did not spoil the proceedings. Visitors were able to look over one of the UK Border Force vessels which was in attendance at the all tide landing. Crews from the Sheppey and Medway Coastguard units did an excellent job with demonstrations of their emergency equipment and procedures. The Sheerness Fire and Rescue crew with their fire engine were kept busy showing the visitors around the appliance. The classic cars provided by members of the Swale Vehicle Enthusiasts Club were as popular as ever with lots of people admiring the well polished old vehicles and chatting to their proud owners.
Sheerness lifeboat coxswain Robin Castle said: ‘it is ‘sods law’ that we would get called out at the open day but having both boats tied up for most of the duration of the event the crew were really disappointed but we have to act when called upon as what may seem initially as a minor incident can very quickly turn into something far more serious in the challenging waters that the Sheerness RNLI lifeboats cover. Apart from that the open day was very successful with lots of visitors many of whom did eventually get to meet the crew and have a look around the boats’
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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.