Eastbourne all-weather lifeboat launched shortly before noon on Saturday after a personal locater beacon was activated in the Pevensey Bay area.
The emergency distress device activation was picked up by HM Coastguard who immediately requested the launch of Eastbourne lifeboat and rescue helicopter 163. In challenging conditions a search commenced, centred in the Norman’s Bay and Bexhill area. With the search under way more details were coming in that that a group of well-equipped kayakers were making their way towards Hastings so Hastings lifeboat was requested to join the search. Eastbourne lifeboat located a member of the group off Bexhill who explained to the volunteer crew that there were a total of seven people in the group and that the distress beacon had activated in error. Reports were also coming in that the rest of the group were coming ashore in the Hastings area. Coastguard officers confirmed that the party were safe ashore and the search operation was stood down with all services returning to their respective stations. It was later confirmed that the locator beacon activated because the batteries were running low.
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.