On Saturday afternoon August 22 at 4.00pm our volunteer lifeboat crew John Ruffhead (Helm), Iain Bates (Helm/crew) and Heather Crittenden (Crew) were tasked to assist a drifting windsurfer who’s mast had snapped three quarters of a mile out from Lydd-on-Sea beach.
Barely visible from the launch ramp, the lifeboat crew could just about make out the casualty. Realising that he was drifting out into the shipping lanes of the English Channel and no other boats in the area to assist the lifeboat crew made way as fast as physically possible
Sea state: Choppy, Wind : Force 7 Gusting force 8, Visibility: Poor.
Upon arrival the casualty seemed fine but cold so once the crew had helped him aboard the
Fred Clarke lifeboat he was checked over and kept warm. The surf board was also taken on board but the mast and sail were lost.
RNLI Lifeboat Helm John Ruffhead said:
‘A definite life saved today. This guy was heading for a lot of trouble, he was drifting fast but had done everything right. He had a means to call the Coastguard and had got himself onto his board to be as high as possible so that he was more visible.’
The lifeboat was recovered by the volunteer shore crew and the casualty checked over once more and after a short time made his way home.
The RNLI lifeboat was then washed, refuelled and made ready for service.
Always carry a means to call for help and call 999 and ask for the Coastguard if you find yourself in difficulty and always wear a lifejacket when on the water.
RNLI Media Contacts:
For more information please telephone Gavin Munnings, RNLI Lifeboat Press Officer on 07568 719991 or email
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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.