Drifting buoy ‘rescued’ by Margate RNLI

Lifeboats News Release

Margate’s RNLI all-weather lifeboat has recovered a large navigation buoy which had broken adrift in the recent gales, posing a threat to navigation in the Thames Estuary.

Margate RNLI lifeboat with the errant buoy in tow (RNLI Margate)

RNLI Margate

Margate RNLI lifeboat with the errant buoy in tow (RNLI Margate)

Ships anchored in the Tongue Anchorage around ten miles north east of Margate contacted UK Coastguard around 11am this morning (Monday 5 March) reporting a large navigation buoy drifting close to vessels in the anchorage.

The buoy was thought to have broken adrift from its moorings, possibly in Belgian waters and was considered to be a hazard to navigation in a busy part of the Thames Estuary. The help of Margate RNLI was sought to bring the errant buoy under control and it was agreed the all-weather lifeboat would launch and attempt to recover the buoy.

Guided by a survey boat and ships at anchor the lifeboat quickly located the buoy which was taken under tow with the plan to bring it to the safety of Ramsgate harbour. The shape, size and weight of the buoy made for a difficult tow and it was some six hours later that the buoy was able to be secured alongside in Ramsgate harbour.

Ian Lowe, Deputy Launching Authority, Margate lifeboat said: “While there was no direct risk to life, a large drifting navigation buoy can present a significant hazard to shipping, particularly small craft in the dark. In the absence of any immediate commercial solution we were happy to assist and hopefully prevent a more serious situation developing.”

Photo: Margate RNLI lifeboat with the errant buoy in tow (RNLI Margate)


RNLI Media contacts

  • Peter Barker, RNLI Margate Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer 07974 064304 peter_barker@rnli.org.uk

  • Paul Dunt, Regional Media Officer (South East), 0207 6207426, 07785 296252 paul_dunt@rnli.org.uk

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

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