Both Sheerness RNLI Lifeboats involved in a life-saving rescue.

Lifeboats News Release

The Sheerness RNLI all-weather and inshore lifeboats launched to reports of two men in the water at Gillingham late in the evening on Saturday 26 September.

A crew member on the all-weather lifeboat keeping an eye on his friends in the inshore lifeboat that was tucked in behind to enable both boats to make best speed to rescue a man clinging to a mooring buoy

RNLI/Vic Booth

Making best speed

The volunteer crews of both the Sheerness RNLI lifeboats were tasked at 10.24pm on Saturday 26 September, by the UK Coastguard, to respond to reports of two men in the water off The Strand close to Gillingham Marina after their dinghy had capsized. The Coastguard Rescue helicopter from Llydd had also been mobilised.

One of the casualties in the water was clinging to a mooring buoy and was able to speak to the UK Coastguard on his mobile phone, at which time he reported that he had lost sight of his friend who had been in the dinghy with him.

The all-weather lifeboat, ‘The George and Ivy Swanson’ with a crew of six and the inshore lifeboat ‘Ole Schroder’ with a crew of three launched simultaneously at 10.42pm by which time further information confirmed that there was now just the one casualty, the man clinging to the mooring buoy, as the second person had managed to get safely back to shore.

With weather conditions near gale force and torrential rain the all-weather lifeboat forged a path through the rough seas enabling the small inshore lifeboat to tuck in behind and make best speed up-river.

Both lifeboats were on scene at 11.05pm and the casualty was immediately spotted by the inshore lifeboat crew, after they had been given precise details that the man was clinging to the first mooring buoy East of Gillingham Marina. They were also further assisted by the casualty who still had the presence of mind and ability to indicate his perilous position using the light from his mobile phone.

With swift work from the lifeboat crew the casualty was pulled to safety and landed ashore and into the care of the Medway Coastguard Rescue Team and a Kent Ambulance crew at 11.12pm, by which time the Coastguard Rescue Helicopter had arrived on scene and was standing by in case of being required. It was also confirmed at this time that the men’s dinghy had now sunk.

Both lifeboats were released from the incident and were back on station at 11.50pm and ready for further service at 0.15am.

Weather: - Wind NW force 7 to 8 with moderate seas, visibility fair.

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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