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Drifting cruiser towed to safety in the Medway Estuary

Lifeboats News Release

Sheerness RNLI lifeboat crew tow a drifting cabin cruiser to the safety of Queenborough harbour

The volunteer crew of the Sheerness RNLI inshore lifeboat ‘Buster’ were called by the UK Coastguard at 5.03pm on Saturday 3 June 2017 to search for an 8mtr cruiser ‘Dougal’ reported broken down with engine failure and drifting in the Medway estuary. The emergency call was made by mobile phone which was the only means of communication and the caller stated they were unsure of the crafts position and also that they were not able to drop an anchor.

The craft with five persons on board, two adults and three children aged nine, seven and two years, was originally on route from the Medway area and making for Gravesend.

The crew of the inshore lifeboat located the casualty at 5.37pm drifting in the area of No.16 buoy close to Oakham Ness and very near to the main shipping channel

The crew checked that all on board were ok and after a tow line was attached the vessel and its occupants were towed back to the safety of Queenborough all tide landing where they were handed over to members of the Sheppey Coastguard unit at 8.46pm suffering no ill effects.

The ILB was back on station and ready for duty again at 9.20pm.

Sheerness RNLI lifeboat 2nd Coxswain Paul Jarvis said: ‘we advise that every journey at sea, whether by experienced or inexperienced crew, should be properly planned and these plans should include full knowledge of the vessels machinery, communication and navigation equipment and also that the vessel has suitable and working safety equipment. This incident was just one of a number of a similar nature we have been called out to over the last few weeks and could have ended so much differently in what is a very busy shipping area’


Media contacts:

Vic Booth RNLI Lifeboat Press Officer (Sheerness) 07926904453 / 01795 880544

Paul Dunt RNLI Press Officer S.E. 07786668825

• Tim Ash, RNLI Public Relations Manager (London/East/South East) on 0207

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