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Abandoned boat sparks call for Margate’s two RNLI lifeboats

Lifeboats News Release

An abandoned boat spotted off Margate in marginal weather conditions sparked a major search today involving the town’s RNLI inshore and all-weather lifeboats along with the coastguard helicopter and shoreside coastguard search teams.

Margate RNLI all-weather lifeboat 'Leonard Kent' at sea (RNLI Margate)

RNLI Margate

Margate RNLI all-weather lifeboat 'Leonard Kent' at sea (RNLI Margate)

The alert was raised around 4pm today (Wednesday 9 January) when UK Coastguard received a report of an empty dinghy in the surf-line at Botany Bay. Margate’s inshore lifeboat along with the coastguard rescue helicopter from Lydd Airport which was exercising in the area were tasked to investigate. Margate’s Coastguard Rescue Team was also alerted to investigate the craft itself and conduct a shoreline search.

Due to a strong northerly wind and confused sea making conditions close to the operational limits for the inshore lifeboat, the RNLI all-weather lifeboat was also tasked to provide support and assist in the search in quickly fading light. Both lifeboats and the helicopter carried out a detailed search of the area, meanwhile coastguards on the beach located the boat which had subsequently capsized in the surf and it was established that it had been in the sea for some time and appeared to have been unoccupied. The search was terminated and all rescue units returned to station.

Ian Lowe, Deputy Launching Authority, Margate Lifeboat said: “There was a real fear that people may have been in the boat when it capsized and washed ashore. The weather conditions were unpleasant for the volunteer crew and the all-weather lifeboat was tasked to provide back-up.”


RNLI Media contacts

  • Peter Barker, RNLI Margate Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer 07974 064304

  • Paul Dunt, Regional Media Officer (South East), 0207 6207426, 07785 296252

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

Margate RNLI inshore lifeboat 'Tigger Three' (RNLI Margate)

RNLI Margate

Margate RNLI inshore lifeboat 'Tigger Three' (RNLI Margate)

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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The RNLI is a charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SC037736). Charity number 20003326 in the Republic of Ireland