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Both Littlehampton RNLI lifeboats launch within seven minutes of each other.

Lifeboats News Release

Lifeboats and volunteer crews launched on Monday (17 July) to a powerboat that had broken down and a kayaker in difficulty.

Helicopter crewman being winched onto the lifeboat (library photograph)

RNLI/Ray Pye

Helicopter crewman being winched onto the lifeboat (library photograph)

The first launch was at 21.18pm on following a 999 call to UK Coastguard. The station's Atlantic 85 lifeboat Renée Sherman was in the process of launching when a further call was received about a man in the water who had become separated from his kayak, half a mile off Ferring.

The lifeboat was diverted to the incident and the crew of the stations D Class lifeboat Ray of Hope were paged and launched at 21.25pm and headed out to the powerboat, which had one man onboard and was reportedly drifting eastwards one mile south west of the harbour entrance.

During the journey, the crew of the D Class lifeboat were advised that the powerboat had been successfully restarted so they were tasked to support the Atlantic 85.

The kayaker had been supported in the water by another kayaker, before being transferred to the Atlantic 85 lifeboat where he received medical treatment from the crew as he was feeling unwell.

A Coastguard rescue helicopter was on scene at 21.41pm and the on-board medic was winched down to the RNLI lifeboat to continue the treatment. The lifeboat crew decided they would beach the Renée Sherman alongside Worthing Pier where the casualty could be transferred to the waiting ambulance and taken to hospital.

Due to the receding tide, the Atlantic 85 was unable to relaunch from the beach. The D Class lifeboat returned to the station and the Coastguard rescue helicopter picked up the medic and returned to its base. At 2.33am the water was deep enough to enable the Atlantic 85 to launch and return to the station.

Nick White, Lifeboat Operations Manager at Littlehampton commented: 'This was a great display of joint working between all the emergency services, Littlehampton RNLI crews, Solent Coastguard, the Coastguard Rescue Helicopter crew and the Ambulance Service.'

RNLI media contacts

  • Tim Ash, RNLI Public Relations Manager (London/East/South East) on 0207 6207426, 07785 296252 email
  • Paul Dunt, RNLI Press Officer (London/East/South East) on 0207 620 7416, 07786 668825 email
For enquiries outside normal business hours, contact the RNLI duty press officer on 01202 336789 email

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