Whitstable RNLI lifeboat launched to dinghy

Lifeboats News Release

An inflatable dinghy with one adult and two children onboard had to be brought ashore by the Whitstable Atlantic 85 RNLI lifeboat after the craft drifted offshore in south westerly force 4 winds from Leysdown, Isle of Sheppey on Tuesday afternoon.

RNLI/Chris Davey

Whitstable lifeboat comes alongside the inflatable dinghy after the craft and it's 3 occupants were blown offshore from Leysdown, Isle of Sheppey on Tuesday afternoon. Picture: RNLI Whitstable.

Launching at 3.10pm the lifeboat was quickly 'on scene' and, with the Sheppey Coastguard Rescue Team keeping the dinghy visual from onshore located the craft 1-mile off Leysdown.

Whitstable lifeboat helmsman Rob Judge said 'We have attended numerous incidents involving inflatable dinghies and beach toys being blown offshore. If people must use such craft then our advise is to always be aware of wind and tide and to have someone onshore keeping watch on them and in addition, carry some means of communication with that person on shore or to be able to contact the coastguard in the event of difficulty'.

'It was fortunate that on this occasion the Sheppey Coastguard Rescue Team had sighted dinghy and it's occupants and were able to request the launch of the lifeboat and that we were able to return them to the beach at Leysdown from where they had left a short while earlier, otherwise we might have had a different outcome. It is all too easy for what started out to be a nice day at the seaside to turn into a tragedy if people are unaware of a few simple safety precautions. There is further advice on all sea safety issues on the RNLI websites'.

The occupants and their craft were returned to the beach into the care of the coastguard team and the lifeboat returned to station arriving at 3.30pm to be prepared for its next service.

Notes to editors

Whitstable RNLI Lifeboat Station was established in 1963 by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution and is one of 237 lifeboat stations around the shores of the UK and Ireland. The volunteer crews provide a maritime search and rescue service for the Kent coast. They cover the area between the Kingsferry Bridge on the Swale, in the west, around the south-eastern side of Sheppey and along the coast through Whitstable and Herne Bay to Reculver in the east and outwards into the Thames Estuary.

The station is equipped with an Atlantic 85 lifeboat named Lewisco, purchased through a bequest of a Miss Lewis of London who passed away in 2006.

She is what is known as a rigid inflatable inshore lifeboat, the boat’s rigid hull being topped by an inflatable sponson. She carries a crew of four people.

RNLI media contacts

  • Chris Davey, Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer, Whitstable Lifeboat Station.
    07741 012004/ [email protected]

  • Paul Dunt RNLI Press Officer London/southeast/east Tel: 0207 6207416 Mob: (07785) 296252 [email protected] enquiries outside normal business hours, contact the RNLI duty press officer on 01202 336789

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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