Littlestone RNLI lifeboat tasked to two boat anglers while on training exercise

Lifeboats News Release

On Sunday afternoon July 26 at 2.00pm while our volunteer lifeboat crew were getting kitted up for the first on-boat training exercise since lockdown began, a member of the public reported he had seen a small boat that looked like it was in trouble around 1.5 miles off the Littlestone coast.

Photo of Littlestone crew member Sarah Munnings on her first shout with the lifeboat.

RNLI/Peter Leigh

Crew member Sarah Munnings on her first shout.

Our Lifeboat Operations Manager Matt Crittenden confirmed that a small boat was certainly there after checking through our long range binoculars in the station and noticed the vessel was making no headway.

After a short change to the training briefing, the volunteer crew were informed and our Atlantic 75 Lifeboat Fred Clarke was tasked to check on the vessel. On arrival they found two males in a two metre inflatable boat that had been fishing and said they were fine. With the sea state very choppy and the wind getting heavier SW force 6 the volunteer crew shadowed the little boat for a few minutes before deciding that it would not make it back to shore.

The two men accepted the advice of RNLI helm Peter Leigh and a tow was suggested and quickly set-up but after a short distance it was decided to bring the boat on board the lifeboat along with the two males as they were getting very wet and cold. After checking the GPS on one of the casualties’ phones the lifeboat crew were able to ascertain what part of the beach the boat had launched from and returned them to their concerned families who were waiting.

RNLI Lifeboat Helm Peter Leigh said:

‘The two gentlemen felt they would be okay left to their own devices but they were actually in trouble out there and they had drifted three miles in a very short time. I’m really proud of the skill and professionalism of my crew under challenging conditions’

It was also our volunteer crew member Sarah Munnings first ever real shout and first time back on the boat since January.

Sarah said:

‘I was a bit concerned at first when we were told we were going to an actual job but those feelings soon go away and your RNLI training kicks in and you get on with helping the crew.

Heather Crittenden (volunteer crew) and Peter Leigh (Helm) were really supportive and soon made me feel like part of the crew rather than a newbie. It’s odd having to wear the Covid 19 PPE with full RNLI equipment but we’ll all be using it for a while yet I think.

It felt great knowing I’d got my first one out of the way and turned out to be a great refresher exercise even though it was an actual rescue

The two men both had lifejackets on and a means to call the coastguard.

‘Always wear a lifejacket and always carry a means to call for help. If you feel unsure whether you need help or not or are having difficulty making headway, it’s always a good idea to call the UK Coastguard early to avoid bigger problems later on,’ added Peter.

The boat returned to station and was made ready for the next volunteer crew members to carry on training exercises.

RNLI media contacts

For more information please telephone Gavin Munnings, RNLI Lifeboat Press Officer on 07568 719991 or email [email protected] or Paul Dunt, RNLI Regional Media Manager on 07785 296252 or RNLI Public Relations on 01202 336789.

The lifeboat arrives on the scene to help the two fishermen.

RNLI/Peter Leigh

The lifeboat arrives on the scene to help the two fishermen.
Photo of the lifeboat being recovered to the station.

RNLI/Peter Leigh

The lifeboat is recovered following the shout.

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 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and 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.

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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.