Busy afternoon for Whitstable RNLI

Lifeboats News Release

Saturday afternoon turned out to be a busy time for the Whitstable lifeboat crew following a thunderstorm and associated gusting winds and rain.

Lifeboat crew member Ruth Oliver assists the occupants of the sailing dinghy in returning to shore on Saturday afternoon.


Lifeboat crew member Ruth Oliver assists the occupants of the sailing dinghy in returning to shore on Saturday afternoon.
The lifeboat was on exercise off Leysdown, Isle of Sheppey when at 4.09pm Dover Coastguard tasked the crew to a report of a capsized sailing dinghy within the confines of the Whiitstable Oyster Farm but the lifeboat was ‘stood down’ when it was established the craft had drifted clear of the farm and had been righted by its crew.

The lifeboat then proceeded to further calls. Helmsman Dave Parry said ““Shortly afterwards we received a second call to another sailing dinghy around a mile off Whitstable. The two occupants were having difficulty controlling the craft in the gusty winds and also were having difficulty seeing, due to the torrential driving rain”

“Ruth Oliver a member of the lifeboat crew who happens to be a sailing instructor was put aboard the dinghy and assisted the occupants to sail it back towards Whitstable”

.“Meanwhile, a Yacht Club RIB (Rigid Inflatable Boat) came alongside the lifeboat and informed us that four boats were missing following the squall”.

“We began an immediate search and soon found a Laser dinghy on the beach near the West Beach Caravan Site at Whitstable. The occupant indicated that he was safe”.

“We continued to search eastwards and found three dinghies on the beach near the harbour’s East Quay. However the occupants stated that they were from Tankerton Sailing Club, not Whitstable, as were two further dinghies that the lifeboat found”.

“Eventually we located the missing craft at Tankerton, a catamaran and Topaz dinghy on the beach by the Marine Hotel, with a further Topaz being towed ashore by the Tankerton Sailing Club rescue boat”.

“With all boats and persons now accounted we then returned to Whitstable to recover crew member Ruth who had meanwhile sailed the second dinghy back to the beach following which we returned to station”.

There were no injuries to any of those involved in the various incidents.

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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