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Littlehampton RNLI assist three people in difficulty in their dinghy

Lifeboats News Release

Littlehampton RNLI received a request from the UK Coastguard at 6.24pm on Tuesday 14 June, following a 999 call from a member of the public who believed they had seen the crew of a dinghy were clinging to the posts at the harbour entrance.

Atlantic 85 Renee Sherman lifeboat heading out to sea

RNLI/Richard Ball

Atlantic 85 Renee Sherman lifeboat heading out to sea

The station's volunteer crew launched their Atlantic 75 lifeboat Renée Sherman at 6.29pm and headed out of the harbour towards the scene.

The casualties were located and, fortunately in this instance, it was a false alarm with good intent, as once the lifeboat arrived the crew of the dinghy confirmed that they were innocently foraging and were not in any distress.

After checking with the initial informant that it was the same dinghy they had seen, the lifeboat was stood down and returned to the station, where it was made ready for service.

Nick White, Lifeboat Operations Manager at Littlehampton RNLI Lifeboat Station, said: 'It appears on this occasion a member of the public was genuinely concerned for the welfare of the three people he saw, and was vigilant in calling the Coastguard and reporting it.

'If people see something and have good reason to think they are in difficulty, we would always urge them to call 999 and ask for the Coastguard. Although it turned out that we were not needed, we would rather launch in good faith and find that people are not in harm's way, than not launch and see a tragedy unfold.'

RNLI media contacts

  • Ray Pye, Littlehampton RNLI Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer / 07854 074688, email
  • 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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Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

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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