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Newhaven RNLI end busiest year ever with back-to-back shouts

Lifeboats News Release

RNLI Newhaven saw out an extraordinary year with two consecutive shouts on New Year’s Eve.

The David and Elizabeth Acland Severn class lifeboat alongside vessel

RNLI/James Johnson

The David and Elizabeth Acland alongside vessel

Newhaven's volunteer crew launched to a total of 69 call outs in 2020, making it the station’s busiest ever year.

The first of the back-to-back calls was at 2.56pm on Thursday 31 December to assist HM Coastguard and Sussex Police after suspected stowaways were discovered aboard the docked Cote d’Albatre Transmanche Ferry which had arrived from Dieppe, France.

Coxswain Lewis Arnold launched the Y boat with two crew aboard. The inflatable approached the ferry to confirm no casualties were pier-side, below the dock.

The lifeboat remained on stand-by while Sussex Police and HM Coastguard completed their search.

Shortly before being stood down, RNLI Newhaven received a new launch request to a day boat which had broken down, 1 mile south east of Newhaven East Pier, with three people on board.

The David and Elizabeth Acland Severn class lifeboat with a crew of six launched at 5.20pm into a smooth sea state, wind force 4, from the west.

The lifeboat located the casualty vessel in darkness and towed it back to Newhaven harbour.

Pagers were back on at 6.39pm.

Lewis Arnold said: ‘It has been an unprecedented year for us all. Despite enormous personal challenges, Newhaven crew have made themselves available to respond to more launch requests than ever before.’

Notes for editor:

The inflatable Y boat is carried on top of the Severn Class lifeboat wheelhouse and is launched using a hydraulic crane. The Y boat is used in appropriate weather conditions mostly for entering shallow water where it is not possible to take the Severn, such as in the recovery of casualties from beaches and under cliffs.

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The David and Elizabeth Acland Severn class lifeboat prepares to tow the casualty vessel

RNLI/James Johnson

The David and Elizabeth Acland prepares to tow the casualty

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.