Abandoned boat sparks call for Margate’s two RNLI lifeboats
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.
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.”
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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.