Kayakers rescued by Sheerness RNLI Lifeboats at the start of another busy weeken
Whilst out on a call to rescue a lone kayaker in the River Medway a further call was relayed to the lifeboats that another five kayakers were in trouble further up river.
The volunteer crew of both the Sheerness RNLI lifeboats were tasked by the UK Coastguard at 1.42pm on Saturday 6 June to reports of a lone kayaker in difficulties and stranded on Darnett Ness which is one of many islands in the Medway Estuary. Both the Sheerness lifeboats were launched due to weather and tidal conditions in the area at the time.
The inshore lifeboat with a crew of three and the all-weather lifeboat with a crew of six launched together at 2.00pm with the ALB providing cover for the ILB in the poor conditions. The ILB located the kayaker, a man in his late 60’s, on Darnett Ness at 2.30pm. Being wet and extremely cold he was quickly taken onboard the ILB and then transported to the ALB which was some distance away due to the shallow water. Once onboard the ALB the man was taken to the fuel pontoon at Gillingham marina where he was handed into the care of the local coastguard rescue team.
Having just landed the man ashore a further call came in from the UK Coastguard reporting that a further five kayakers were in trouble at Hoo Island and needed assistance due to the weather conditions. Once located the five young men, two of whom were extremely cold bordering on hypothermic, were extracted by the ILB crew and put onboard the bigger boat to also be taken to the pontoon at Gillingham Marina. This incident was not related to the previous one. Wind WSW 25-30knots,sea state moderate, visibility fair.
Later that day at 8.35pm the ILB was tasked to assist in a multi-agency incident at Rochester. With the incident resolved the ILB was stood down at 9.40pm and returned to station.
The inshore lifeboat was tasked again on Sunday 7 June at 1.42pm after a call to the UK Coastguard reported that a person was potentially cut off by the tide in the vicinity of Royal Oak Point having been seen walking in that direction, but had not returned as the tide was flooding. Launching at 1.57pm with a crew of three the ILB arrived on scene at 2.10pm where they spoke to two anglers who said they were aware of the tides and would be returning as the tide receded. Although the incident is classed as false alarm good intent this was exactly the right action taken by a vigilant member of the public. The lifeboat was back on station and ready for service again at 2.45pm.
Not to be left out whilst this was going on yet another call came in from the UK Coastguard tasking the all-weather lifeboat to assist a 50-foot vessel with three people on-board that was in trouble off Garrison Point after suffering mechanical problems. The lifeboat was subsequently stood down at 2.15pm after the request was cancelled. As the crew were already onboard the ALB but did not launch the incident is classed as a ‘crew assembly’.
And finally, to end the weekend the ILB crew were paged at 4.17pm in response to reports that a person had been in the water at Sun Pier, Chatham and was now in a small tender but having difficulty making their way to safety. Having launched at 4.33pm the ILB was immediately stood down after the UK Coastguard confirmed that Kent Fire and Rescue were on the scene and resolving the situation.
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.