Newhaven lifeboat takes part in mass casualty exercise

Lifeboats News Release

Newhaven’s Severn class lifeboat ‘David and Elizabeth Acland’ and her volunteer crew took part in the largest multi-casualty exercise in Newhaven Harbour for 10 years this weekend.

Photo of the Newhaven Severn class lifeboat taking part in Operation Dolphin.


The Newhaven Severn class lifeboat taking part in Operation Dolphin.

Operation Dolphin was held on Sunday 7 October and was an exercise that simulated the collision of two vessels in Newhaven Harbour. The 'collision' resulted in mass casualties on both vessels, multiple persons in the water as well as casualties on Newhaven’s east beach (Tidemills).

The exercise was organised by South East Coast Ambulance Service (SECAMB) and Newhaven Port Authority, and was co-ordinated by the Coastguard.

Lifeboats from Newhaven, Brighton and Eastbourne were involved, as well as the local coastguard rescue teams, East Sussex Fire and Rescue, the Kent Sussex and Surry Air Ambulance, Sussex Police and UK Border Force. Harbour Authority vessels simulated the casualty boats involved in the collision.

One of the vessels was carrying students playing the role of injured asylum seekers and migrants, testing the response of UK Border Force and Sussex Police.

Newhaven Lifeboat was the first boat on scene, assessing the situation and transferring two lifeboat crew members onto both casualty boats. These crew members then rapidly triaged the casualties on both vessels as the lifeboat prioritised recovering the people in the water.

Eastbourne and Brighton lifeboats then arrived on scene and began to assist with the casualty care and recovery.

As Eastbourne Lifeboat recovered one casualty vessel to the harbour, Newhaven Lifeboat brought SECAMB paramedics back out to the second vessel to provide medical care onboard.

All casualties were landed back in the harbour to Rampion Quay, which was set up as the Primary Landing Stage, where casualties were assessed and medical treatment continued under the care of the ambulance service and air ambulance doctors.

The English Channel is the world's busiest shipping lane with more than 500 ships a day passing through the narrow straight between the UK and France and Newhaven is one of several RNLI stations on the UK's south coast ready to launch its volunteer crews to any emergency. Newhaven lifeboat Coxswain Paul Rogers said Operation Dolphin was a superbly organised exercise that provided valuable inter-agency training for all involved.


Notes to editors

To follow Newhaven lifeboat services visit, Facebook, Twitter & You Tube for the latest pictures and video. Newhaven has celebrated over 210 years as a lifeboat station, also being the oldest RNLI station in the UK. Newhaven operates an all-weather Seven Class lifeboat ‘RNLB David and Elizabeth Acland’

RNLI media contacts

  • James Johnson, Newhaven RNLI Station Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer 07976 973018
  • Paul Rogers, Newhaven RNLI Station Coxswain 01273 514143
  • Paul Dunt, RNLI Public Relations Manager (London/East/South East) on 07785 296252,
  • For enquiries outside normal business hours, contact the RNLI duty press officer on 01202 336789
Photo showing large number of emergency workers involved in the exercise.


The exercise involved a large number of agencies including the RNLI.
Photo fo the Atlantic 85 lifeboat from Brighton RNLI on the shore surrounded by emergency workers


The Atlantic 85 lifeboat from Brighton RNLI was also involved.
Picture of the Eastbourne and Newhaven lifeboats (closer to camera) moored up during the exercise


The Eastbourne and Newhaven lifeboats (closer to camera) moored up during the exercise.
Photo of people acting as casualties being treated in an emergency hospital tent.


'Casualties' are treated during the exercise.

Key facts about the RNLI

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.

Learn more about the RNLI

For more information please visit the RNLI website or Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. News releases, videos and photos are available on the News Centre.

Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or by email.