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Whitstable lifeboat launched to inflatable beach toy

Lifeboats News Release

Whitstable's Atlantic 85 lifeboat was launched at 3.25pm on Sunday following a report from the UK Coastguard of two children in an inflatable beach toy being blown offshore from Leysdown, Isle of Sheppey. The local RNLI beach lifeguard was also attending.

Whitstable's Atlantic 85 Lifeboat 'Lewisco'. Picture: RNLI Whitstable

RNLI/Chris Davey

Whitstable's Atlantic 85 Lifeboat 'Lewisco'. Picture: RNLI Whitstable
The lifeboat arrived 'on scene' and the crew located the dinghy and it's two occupants a male aged 5 and 19 year old female along with the lifeguard a 1/2-mile off Leysdown Beach. The lifeguard had been unable to get them ashore due to the fresh breeze.

All were brought onboard the lifeboat and the landed ashore at Love Beach into the care of the Sheppey Coastguard and family members.

Whilst the lifeboat was at the beach, a 17-year old male who had initially swam out to try and assist collapsed whilst talking to the crew. He was assessed and treated by the crew who requested an ambulance and was subsequently taken to hospital having ingested seawater.

Dave Parry, Helmsman of the Whitstable Lifeboat said “The use of inflatable beach toys has always been a worry to us. Our advice is that if people must use them, then they should always be aware of the wind and tethered to a suitable mooring such as a groyne. In offshore winds inflatables can be very quickly blown out to sea and that was the case on this occasion in the south westerly force 5 winds”.

Notes to editors

Whitstable RNLI Lifeboat Station was established in 1963 by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution and is one of 237 lifeboat stations around the shores of the UK and Ireland. The volunteer crews provide a maritime search and rescue service for the Kent coast. They cover the area between the Kingsferry Bridge on the Swale, in the west, around the south-eastern side of Sheppey and along the coast through Whitstable and Herne Bay to Reculver in the east and outwards into the Thames Estuary.

The station is equipped with an Atlantic 85 lifeboat named Lewisco, purchased through a bequest of a Mrs Lewis of London who passed away in 2006.

She is what is known as a rigid inflatable inshore lifeboat, the boat’s rigid hull being topped by an inflatable sponson. She carries a crew of four people.

RNLI media contacts

  • Chris Davey, Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer, Whitstable Lifeboat Station.
    07741 012004/ [email protected]

  • Tim Ash, RNLI Public Relations Manager (London/East/South East)
    0207 6207426 / 07785 296252 /
    [email protected]

  • Paul Dunt RNLI Press Officer London/southeast/east Tel: 0207 6207416 Mob: (07786) [email protected]

For enquiries outside normal business hours, contact the RNLI duty press officer on 01202 336789

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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 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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