A long night for the Sheerness RNLI Lifeboat volunteers
Both of the Sheerness RNLI Lifeboats were called out to separate incidents on Friday 4 and Saturday 5 September resulting in three of the crew members being at sea for more than nine hours.
The first call from the UK Coastguard tasked the inshore lifeboat to provide safety cover in a multi-agency incident at Rochester followed by the All-Weather lifeboat being called to a fishing trawler that was fouled up on an underwater obstacle off the Sheppey coast.
The volunteer crew of the Sheerness relief inshore lifeboat ‘Ole Schroder’ were tasked at 8.02pm on Friday 4 September by the UK Coastguard to provide safety cover whilst a multi-agency incident was taking place on the River Medway near Rochester.
Launching at 8.18pm, with a crew of three, the lifeboat was on scene at 8.50pm.
At 1.30am the next day the decision was taken to effect a crew change but to avoid the lifeboat having to leave the scene the Sheerness Lifeboat Operations Manager, Nigel Budden, liaised with the UK Coastguard and arranged for the Sheppey Coastguard Rescue Team to transport three relief crew members from the Lifeboat station at Sheerness to the incident scene at Rochester and then return the existing crew back to Sheerness.
With the relief crew on scene at Rochester continuing to provide safety cover the original crew arrived back on station at Sheerness 3.25am where they found that the all-weather-lifeboat had just been tasked by the UK Coastguard to respond to reports that a 10mtr,12 tonne fishing trawler had fouled its nets and propellers on an underwater obstacle close to No4 Buoy in the Medway approach channel.
Without hesitation the three crew members promptly changed out of their ILB dry suits and put on their all weather gear to join the crew who had been paged to man the ALB.
Launching at 3.35am the lifeboat located the casualty trawler with two crew members onboard at 3.50am.
A tow line was passed across from the lifeboat which enabled the trawler crew to cut away their gear from the large obstacle they were caught up on. The lifeboat was then able to tow the casualty back to Queenborough Harbour where it was safely secured at 5.15am.
The ALB returned to station at 5.30am which coincided with the arrival of the ILB which had been stood down at 4.50am after the Rochester incident had been resolved. Both lifeboats were ready for service again at 5.50am
Weather, wind WSW 8-12 knots, sea state calm with good visibility.
RNLI Media contacts:
Vic Booth RNLI Lifeboat Press Officer (Sheerness) 07926904453 / 01795 880544 /
Paul Dunt, Regional Media Officer (South East), 0207 6207426, 07785 296252 firstname.lastname@example.org
· 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.