Three service calls and three exercises afloat in 24 hours. This holiday weekend, the volunteer crew of Newhaven Lifeboat, showed their muscle and determination to put in the training hours and be there when it counts.
RNLI Newhaven were tasked by HM Coastguard on Friday 2 April at 9.37pm, to render assistance to a 32ft yacht with two persons on board. The casualty vessel had suffered engine failure 0.5NMs south of Newhaven Harbour.
Newhaven’s Severn class ALB David and Elizabeth Acland and her crew of six mustered, were briefed and launched at 9.49pm into fair visability and force 4 to 5 north easterly breeze.
Lewis Arnold, Newhaven Coxswain, says, ‘The vessel was at anchor when we arrived on scene, however, it’s position presented as a possible danger to commercial vessels transiting in and out of the harbour.’
An alongside tow was set due to the smooth sea state. The casualty vessel was successfully towed and placed alongside at Newhaven marina. The lifeboat was stood down and returned to station at 11:26pm.
The following morning at 7am, Saturday 3 April, Newhaven’s David and Elizabeth Acland launched for the first of three scheduled exercises afloat.
Under current Covid-19 regulations, training afloat is restricted to 24 hours every ten days. The exercise continued until 10am covering EOP drills and machinery training.
The Lifeboat launched for the second scheduled exercise at 12pm. This time for SARNAV training, scheduled to complete at 3pm.
Lewis Arnold, Coxswain, says, ‘We’re gearing up for a busy summer again this year. Anticpating the staycationers to make the most of the beach and local coastline. It’s critical for all our crew to be well versed for all possible scenarios.’
As the Lifeboat was entering the harbour at 2.35pm, Newhaven RNLI received a request from HM Coastguard to proceed towards Birling Gap following reports of three persons cut off by the incoming tide.
Lewis Arnold, Coxswain, says, ‘Birling Gap CRT officers had rendez-voused with several persons on the western end of the Seven Sisters who had been cut off by the tide and waded around the cliff face.’
The Lifeboat conducted a shoreline search from Cuckmere Haven to Birling Gap. Visability was good, slight sea state, with a force 5 to 6 north easterly. No persons in difficulty were sighted. The Lifeboat was stood down and returned to station.
At 4.36pm on Saturday 3 April, pagers alerted Newhaven crew once again. HM Coastguard requested launch of the Lifeboat following the discovery of personal effects at the top of Seaford Head, found by Coastguard officers.
Newhaven’s volunteer crew were briefed and proceeded at 4.50pm, arriving on scene at Splash Point at 5pm. Visibility remained good. Sea state slight, with a force 5 to 6 north easterly breeze.
Lewis Arnold, Coxswain, says, ‘We deployed the Y-class with two crew to conduct a closer shoreline search from Splash Point to Cuckmere, whilst Coastguard and Sussex Police made enquires around the personal items.’
The area was searched as best as possible by the lifeboat crew. Shortly after arriving at Cuckmere revised information was reported that the person had been found safe and well ashore. All units were stood down.
The demanding level of action did not deter Newhaven crew from their scheduled training plan.
At 7pm, the David and Elizabeth Acland and her volunteer crew launched for the third and final exercise in 24 hours. Navigation and helming training continued until 8.30pm.
The team at Newhaven Lifeboat enjoyed a peaceful Easter Sunday, the only searches ensuing were chocolate related. Possible further hat-tricks achieved, although, unconfirmed.
Notes to editors
• ALB - All-weather Lifeboat
• EOP - Emergency Operations Plan
• SARNAV - Search and Rescue Navigation
• CRT - Coastguard Rescue Team
• Y-class - A class of small inflatable rescue boat operated by the RNLI. The Y-class is mainly used as a small tender carried on board the larger RNLI all-weather lifeboats that serve the shores of the UK.
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For more information please telephone Roz Ashton, RNLI volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer on 07900 887423 or Rosalind_Ashton@rnli.org.uk or Paul Dunt, Regional Media Officer on 07785 296252 Paul_Dunt@rnli.org.uk or contact the RNLI Press Office on 01202 336789.
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