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Two pagings on Christmas Day for Walmer RNLI

Lifeboats News Release

Walmer lifeboat volunteers left their Christmas Day celebrations responding to two service calls.

RNLI/Christopher Winslade

The 24/7/365 (or 366 in a leap year) service commitment continued on Christmas Day with Walmer volunteers answering two calls, both involving the station's Atlantic 85 Donald McLauchlan. The first launch, at 10.13am was after numerous 999 calls to UK Coastguard about an empty rhib drifting in St Margaret’s Bay, which was eventually located just outside the eastern entrance of Dover Harbour. It was taken under tow into the harbour. The lifeboat returned to station at 11.56am in winds of 25 knots necessitating a net recovery. A net recovery is used in poor sea conditions and involves the helm steering the boat into the trailer on the back of a wave. The lifeboat is then captured by a collapsing net, a recovery which requires skill and teamwork between both the helm and the tractor driver.

The second incident was in response to a 1.34pm paging to a report of a person in the water off Sandown Castle. A quick launch saw the lifeboat on-scene in three minutes. The casualty unfortunately turned out to be a drifting deceased sheep. It was agreed with the Coastguard to let it wash ashore on the wind and tide to be dealt with by the appropriate authorities later. Once again, wind and sea conditions made for a difficult recovery into the net.

Walmer's Operations Manager Denis Brophy said, 'Two shouts on Christmas Day is a first in my lifeboat career and I think a first for the station.' He asked that his thanks be passed on to the families and friends of crew who responded. The station's Area Lifesaving Manager Allen Head also added his thanks to the team and their families, commenting that they had shown the 'very best of selflessness' in their commitment.

Notes to editors

Walmer lifeboat station was established in 1856.

It currently operates two inshore lifeboats – a B Class Atlantic 85 Donald McLauchlan and a smaller D Class Duggie Rodbard II.

Crews have received 28 Awards for Gallantry

Photo 1 Net recovery of Walmer's Atlantic 85 Donald McLauchlan.

RNLI media contacts

  • Chris Winslade, Lifeboat Press Officer, Walmer Lifeboat Station on 01304 374475 or 07906 623037 [email protected]
  • Paul Dunt, RNLI Press Officer (London/East/South-East) on 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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Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or by email.