Two RNLI Lifeboat stations involved in a search for two men in a tiny dinghy
The Sheerness RNLI ‘D class’ inshore lifeboat and the Southend RNLI Atlantic class lifeboat were launched at 3.25pm on Thursday 20 August after reports of two men in a tiny dinghy being seen some three miles off the Sheppey coast in the busy shipping lanes of the Thames estuary.
The volunteer crew of the Sheerness relief inshore lifeboat ‘Ole Schroder’ were tasked by the UK Coastguard who had concerns after reports that a small, tender type, dinghy with two people onboard had been seen in the vicinity of the busy Sea Reach shipping channel, approximately three miles NNE from Garrison Point.
Launching at 3:25pm with a crew of 3 the ILB was initially guided towards the casualty vessel by the Sheppey Coastguard Rescue Team who were on Sheerness Beach.
Having been initially visible from the beach, due to its size and distance from shore any visual sighting was soon lost.
As the Sheerness lifeboat continued to search the area the UK Coastguard also tasked Southend's Atlantic Class Lifeboat to launch and join the search.
London VTS contacted an outbound ship who confirmed that they had seen the small dinghy in the vicinity of the Sea Reach 3 Buoys heading in a NW direction which would have taken the vessel towards Southend.
Southend Coastguard Rescue Team searched their area and located a dinghy matching the description and after speaking to the two occupants it was confirmed they had launched from Sheerness and they were the vessel in question.
After some strong safety advice it was decided the safest course of action would be for the larger Southend Lifeboat to bring the dinghy and its occupants back to Sheerness, rather than them make the dangerous return journey themselves in their tiny craft ion the prevailing conditions
The Sheerness lifeboat was released from the incident at 4:50pm,arriving back on station at 5:25pm to be refueled and made ready for further service.
Weather- Part cloudy,Wind SSW 17-19 knots,Sea state smooth/slight, visibility good.
London VTS manages and oversees safety of navigation in one of the largest and most diverse VTS areas in the UK covering an area of some 600 square miles of waterway spanning 95 miles from Teddington to the North Sea.
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.