Busy period for the Whitstable RNLI lifeboat

Lifeboats News Release

Whitstable volunteer lifeboat crews had a busy 24 hours on Thursday and Friday when the Atlantic 85 lifeboat Lewisco was launched ‘on service’ on three occasions.

RNLI/Chris Davey

Whitstable lifeboat returns to station having assisted a kayaker off Island Wall on Friday afternoon.

On Thursday night the lifeboat was launched at 11.42pm to assist a 22-foot motor cruiser without power and aground between Leysdown and Shellness on the Isle of Sheppey. The Sheerness ‘All weather lifeboat’ had been dispatched earlier in the evening to assist the vessel but due to tide and location had been unable to reach the casualty.

The Whitstable lifeboat arrived at the vessels location to find the craft

beached but with the two occupants still onboard.

Due to the shallow water, breaking waves and a 1.5-metre swell in the force 3 ENE winds the lifeboat was unable to ‘close’ on the motor cruisers position so the Sheppey Coastguard Rescue team were ‘tasked’ by Dover Coastguard to assist the occupants to the shore and the lifeboat was then released from the incident to return to station.

On Friday morning the lifeboat was launched at 12.10pm to a Kayaker in difficulties 300-metres off Island Wall, Whitstable. A second Kayaker was nearby waving for assistance. The lifeboat crew had observed that the casualty was ‘slumped forward onboard his craft and then seen to overturn.

The lifeboat came alongside the male casualty 1-minute after launching and he and his kayak brought onboard the lifeboat, conscious and breathing but exhausted and taken ashore at the lifeboat station. No immediate casualty care was needed but advice was given to seek medical attention if there were any later signs of feeling unwell. He was then released into the care off his fellow kayaker who had made his own way ashore.

Whitstable lifeboat trainee helmsman Liam Sidders said ‘The casualty did all the right things, he was wearing a good quality lifejacket and stayed close to his friend and signalled for help when he became incapable of making it back to the shore. It was a relatively straightforward job for us and all ended well’.

An hour later the lifeboat was launched again to a report of an inflatable kayak drifting off Admiralty Walk, Seasalter. The lifeboat arrived at the location but found no trace of the craft and the crew therefore commenced a search of the area but were ‘stood down’ when the coastguard confirmed that the 1st informant had reported that the occupant of the craft was now safely ashore.

There have now been 56 calls on the stations volunteer lifeboat crews so far this year.

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]

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 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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