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Maiden voyage sailor rescued by RNLI lifeboat

Lifeboats News Release

The Sheerness all-weather lifeboat Judith Copping Joyce was tasked by the UK Coastguard at 6.25pm on Saturday 26 February 2022 to respond to a lone sailor on a 25' yacht who had reported engine problems/smoke and was located south of the Isle of Grain in the Medway Estuary.

The casualty craft with its lone occupant safely alongside the Sheerness lifeboat.

RNLI/Vic Booth

Safely alongside

Launching at 6.40pm with a crew of six the lifeboat was on scene 20 minutes later after the casualty had been able to give the UK Coastguard an updated, accurate position by using the What3Words app on his mobile phone.

With the lifeboat on scene a crew member was placed onto the casualty vessel, which had become snagged alongside one of the container terminals at Thamesport. Having been released, the casualty was towed out into Saltpan Reach to avoid it from getting further caught up under the jetties where it was located.

With the vessel now in a safer area a secure tow was commenced at 7.13pm to the safety of the All Tide Landing at Queenborough where it was secured at 7.49pm and passed over into the care of the Sheppey Coastguard Rescue team.

The Lifeboat was released at 8.00pm, returned to station at 8.20pm and ready for further service at 8.45pm.

Weather clear skies, wind F1 S, sea state calm, visibility good.

This rescue was notable for being ‘firsts’ for two of the people involved.

For the chap who was rescued it was a frightening introduction to just what can happen when things quickly start to go wrong whilst out on the water. He had just purchased the vessel and had sailed it over from the Blackwater Estuary in Essex, having crossed the very busy shipping lanes, fortunately without problems, only to get into difficulties off the Isle of Grain. The facts of this tale are that this was the first boat he had owned and alarmingly this was the first time he had ever been out on the water alone !

The other first involves 30 year crew member Andy Barnes who after becoming a fully-fledged RNLI Coxswain on the 25 January this year, this was his first ‘outing’ in charge of the Shannon in his role as deputy second coxswain. Andy was pleased to get a textbook rescue under his belt so quickly after becoming qualified.

We now have three fully qualified Shannon class coxswains at the Sheerness RNLI lifeboat station who between them have amassed almost 90 years of service !!

Andy just gets the nod as longest serving having joined the crew in August 1992 followed a couple of months later by 2nd Coxswain Clive Hancock and shortly after that by our now full-time Coxswain ‘PJ’ Paul Jarvis.

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.