Trio of calls keep Margate’s lifeboat volunteers busy
It has been a busy weekend for Margate’s RNLI lifeboat crew answering calls to a speed boat, a jet-ski and a person taken ill on the beach making six calls in total over just a few days.
Around 3pm on Saturday (18 July) the occupants of a 19’ speed boat contacted UK Coastguard reporting their vessel had experienced machinery failure. They were between Palm Bay and Botany Bay to the east of Margate with eight people on board including five children, the boat was also reported to be taking on water.
The inshore lifeboat was tasked to assist and after quickly arriving on scene towed the craft back to Palm Bay where it was assisted back onto its trailer by members of the local jet-ski club. All the occupants were wearing lifejackets or buoyancy aids and local coastguard officers provided safety advice.
Around 1pm on Sunday (19 July) UK Coastguard received calls from members of the public reporting the occupant of a jet-ski waving frantically around a mile offshore from Oval Bandstand Cliftonville. The inshore lifeboat was tasked and commenced a search of the immediate area.
Lifeboat personnel at the boathouse noted jet-skis circling close to ships in the Margate Roads anchorage and after the lifeboat communicated with the many other jet-skiers in the area it was established the original jet-skier had made shore safely. After a sweep of the area the lifeboat returned to station.
Ian Lowe, Deputy Launching Authority, Margate RNLI said: ‘Jet-skis are great fun machines but must be used sensibly, with respect of other water users and within the limitations of the rider. Anchored ships should be given a respectfully wide berth as operations on board may be hazardous to craft coming too close.’
Less than two hours later UK Coastguard and other stations in the North Kent coastal area including off-duty lifeboat crew heard a Mayday message on marine VHF stating a person had been taken ill. The message was incomplete, and coastguards could not gain further details.
Margate’s RNLI inshore lifeboat was tasked to search the area and it quickly became clear the incident was taking place on the beach at the rear of the Winter Gardens, Margate. Kent police, RNLI lifeguards, SECAmb and Margate coastguard rescue team all responded to the incident with Margate RNLI boathouse acting as a radio relay station to UK Coastguard due to poor radio conditions at the time. The lifeboat and lifeguards were stood down as the casualty was in the care of ambulance personnel. We wish the casualty a quick and full recovery.
Ian Lowe, Deputy Launching Authority, Margate RNLI said: ‘All persons having access to marine VHF equipment should gain training on how to make an effective Mayday message, preferably by attending an RYA Marine Short Range Radio Certificate course to obtain a personal licence. An effective Mayday broadcast will enable potentially many stations to hear and record details of the message which if not heard directly by the coastguard can be relayed by other stations to ensure appropriate help is sent.
RNLI Media contacts
• Peter Barker, RNLI Margate Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer 07974 064304 firstname.lastname@example.org
• Paul Dunt, Regional Media Officer (SouthEast), 0207 6207416, 07786 668825 email@example.com
• For 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 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.