Man was rescued by Sheerness RNLI Lifeboat after spending two hours in the water

Lifeboats News Release

A 60 year old man was rescued by the Sheerness inshore lifeboat crew after a terrifying two hour ordeal in the water at Gillingham on Wednesday 13 April 2022.

The volunteer crews of both the Sheerness RNLI lifeboats were tasked by the UK Coastguard to a multi-agency incident involving a man reported to be in the water in the area of Gillingham Reach in the tidal River Medway.

Both lifeboats launched at 9.55pm and making best speed the inshore lifeboat was first on the scene, at 10.23pm, where they were guided with spotlights by the other emergency services present to the casualty, who was in the water and clinging to the rear access ladder of a yacht.

The man was immediately hauled from the water into the lifeboat and quickly transferred to the pontoon at Gillingham Marina where he taken into the care of the other agencies involved which included the Coastguard rescue teams from Sheerness and Medway plus the Coastguard Helicopter and teams from Kent ambulance and Kent Police.

It is believed the casualty, who was alone, had been leaving his yacht and fell into the water when his tender capsized. Having spent approximately two hours in the water his cries for help were heard by the crew of a passing dredger who immediately raised the alarm.

Sheerness RNLI coxswain Paul Jarvis said :’ the man was extremely cold after his ordeal and with water temperature being just 8 degrees it is remarkable how he managed to hold on to the ladder for so long and without the rapid response of all involved after the emergency call was made the outcome would have been very different.’

With the man safe the all-weather lifeboat was stood down whilst the inshore lifeboat was immediately tasked to respond to another incident involving a vulnerable person further downstream and eventually returned to station at 11.46pm.

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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