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Sheerness RNLI lifeboat responds to three calls in quick succession

Lifeboats News Release

The Sheerness inshore lifeboat was at sea for more than four hours attending three separate incidents

RNLI/Vic Booth

Sheerness RNLI 'D' class 'Buster'

The volunteer crew of the Sheerness inshore lifeboat ‘Buster’ were requested to launch by the UK Coastguard at 3.50pm on Monday 16 October to a report of a small yacht in trouble off Chatham dockyard. Having launched the crew were then advised that the craft had now gone aground upstream of Thunderbolt Pier.

Making best possible speed with a South to South West wind blowing force 6 gusting force 8 at times the crew were close to the scene at 4.42pm when they received a further call from the UK Coastguard requesting they proceed immediately to the area of the M2 bridge where a man had reportedly jumped off the bridge.

The ILB arrived at the scene at 4.52pm and began an immediate search of the river.

The Sheppey and Medway Coastguard Rescue teams along with the Kent Police and Coastguard helicopters were also involved along with members of the public who assisted in a search of the shoreline.

With the daylight gone and nothing untoward found the ILB was released at 6.25pm and returned downstream to the scene of the first incident where they found the yacht ‘Mystic’ tied to the sea wall. The crew recognised the man and his craft as the one they had turned out to the previous week when the yacht had run aground on Hoo Island. Once again, the man stated he was happy to remain on his boat with no assistance so the crew left the scene and commenced their journey back to the lifeboat station.

In the meantime, a phone call was received at the lifeboat station from the UK Coastguard that another small yacht had run aground off Garrison Point at the mouth of the river.

Three crew members from the station drove to Garrison Point where they spotted the craft just West of the old outfall and very close to the shore.

Being already on standby the crew were equipped with dry suits and lifejackets and with safety lines attached entered the water and made contact with the single man on board the craft who stated he had been enjoying a day’s sailing from Gillingham when the weather conditions worsened and with not enough fuel to motor back to safety he had been blown ashore.

Once contact had been made the crew requested the ILB proceed to the scene where it arrived at 7.18pm with the intention of escorting the casualty into the Lower Camber basin in the dockyard but due to the wind strength and poor conditions the decision was made to tow the craft to the south side of the Camber where it was safely secured.

After more than four hours at sea in very poor conditions the ILB and its three-man crew eventually arrived back on station at 8.27pm.


Media contacts:

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

Paul Dunt RNLI Press Officer S.E. 07786668825

• For enquiries outside normal business hours, contact the RNLI duty press officer on 01202 33678

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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