Littlehampton RNLI respond to seven shouts in recent days

Lifeboats News Release

Volunteers at Littlehampton RNLI assist one vessel on fire, four broken down leisure crafts, small boat run aground and one person reported to be in the water.

Both lifeboats in the station

RNLI/Ray Pye (Library)

Both lifeboats in the station

The incidents happened between 3 and 19 August. Firstly, the stations Atlantic 85 lifeboat Renée Sherman and volunteer crew were tasked to assist in the recovery of a small leisure boat with two people onboard that had suffered an engine problem that resulted in a small fire and was drifting just offshore opposite Rustington Convalescent Home. The casualty was towed back to Town Quay where the fire service was waiting. Following an assessment by the lifeboat crew, the vessel was understood to be taking in water. The casualty was towed to Littlehampton Marina where it was safely lifted from the water.

The next incident was a request from the UK Coastguard reporting a jet-ski that had broken down near Bognor Regis. The jet-skier had tried several times to restart the engine. The Atlantic 85 launched and set off towards the reported location and began searching the area. The stations D Class lifeboat Ray of Hope also launched to assist in the search nearer to the shoreline. Following an extensive search of the area, nothing was found, both lifeboats stood down and returned to the station shortly after midnight.

Incident number three involved a broken-down power boat in the River Arun at the Black Rabbit pub in Arundel. The casualty with two people on board had a broken propeller. The stations D Class lifeboat launched at 2.45pm and headed up river. At the scene the lifeboat crew fixed a tow rope to the casualty and commenced the journey back to Littlehampton Marina, where the Coastal Rescue Team were waiting to speak to the two occupants. The lifeboat returned to the station at 5.25pm.

Incident number four, another broken down vessel one and a half miles from the harbour entrance. The Atlantic 85 lifeboat and volunteer crew launched at 8:02pm. Arriving at the reported location the lifeboat was joined by an Army Tug that had gone to assist the casualty. Due to the weight of the casualty it was decided that the Army Tug should tow it back to the Harbour Master Moorings. One member of the lifeboat crew went aboard the casualty and one on the Army Tug to assist with the entry into the harbour. The life boat and remaining crew escorted both other vessels back to the Harbour. At 9:05pm the casualty was safely moored; the Army Tug departed the scene and the lifeboat returned to the station.

Incident number five. The UK coastguard requested launch of the Atlantic 85 following a report that a dinghy with four people on board was missing and was last seen half a mile south of Butlins, in Bognor Regis. The lifeboat launched at 9:13pm and was on scene shortly after. At 9:25pm the Coastal Rescue Team reported that a fisherman had sighted a dinghy with four people onboard, which was heading east. This was confirmed as the target vessel and everyone was safe. The lifeboat stood down and returned to the station at 9:52pm.

Following this, on Sunday (8 August) a VHF radio call was received by the UK Coastguard from a member of the six-man crew of a small dive boat, reporting they had run aground just outside the entrance to Littlehampton Harbour. The Deputy Launching Authority advised the UK Coastguard that they were unable to recover the vessel, due to the low water, but would launch to ensure everyone is safe. The stations Atlantic 85 lifeboat and volunteer crew were on scene at 7:39pm, where they transferred three casualties to the lifeboat with one remaining in the shallow water keeping hold of the vessel. The lifeboat landed the three casualties at Fisherman’s Quay, then returned to the vessel, the water levels had increased, and the vessel was able to be sailed back to the visitor moorings at Town Quay, escorted by the lifeboat, where the Coastal Rescue Team was in attendance. The lifeboat returned to the station at 8:16pm.

The most recent launch was on Sunday 19 August at 8.45pm in response to a call from the UK Coastguard requesting attendance to reports of an adult male in the River Arun, near the pier on the east side of the harbour entrance. At the scene, the stations D Class and volunteer crew were directed to a revised position on the opposite side of the river, near Littlehampton Yacht Club moorings, where the casualty had paddled across the river on his board. It was confirmed by the lifeboat crew that the casualty, a windsurfer was fine and had headed across the river to collect his rig. The casualty, board and rig were recovered to the boathouse, he was not suffering any injuries or illness, just a little cold. He was kept warm in the boathouse and waited until he was collected by friends. The lifeboat was returned to the station at 9:12pm where it was refuelled and made ready for service.

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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 over 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and, in a normal year, 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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