It is important to remember that all the crew at RNLI Rye Harbour are volunteers and have other career paths to follow alongside their work at Rye Harbour.
To be called out even once in a day can be demanding of their time and energy levels. From Sunday mid-afternoon to late Monday evening there were four shouts, and some crew members were involved in all of them. There is dedication and pride in the job done and no moans of “not another one.” They are an inspiration to us all.
Shouts one and two.
On Sunday at 3.37pm the pagers went off and HM Coastguard tasked the Atlantic ‘85 because there were reports of three people in trouble at the Harbour mouth. Just as the boat was launching they were stood down as the casualties had all reached the safety of the shore.
At the same time a yacht was observed in the channel moving erratically so our Launch Authority decided that the lifeboat should go and investigate. HM Coastguard then requested that the yacht be escorted back to its moorings in Rye. The lifeboat was then recovered and back on service at 5.30pm.
The pagers went off at 6.49 pm and the Rye Harbour lifeboat was tasked to search for three paddleboarders who had got into difficulty between Pett Level and Rock-a-Nore, Hastings.
Tim Dickinson, RNLI helm, takes up the story.
“The wind and tide had pushed the paddleboarders east towards Fairlight and they were unable to make it back by sea. When we arrived on the scene, we found one of the paddle boarders afloat and two ashore, under the cliffs. We picked up the casualty afloat and made our way to the shore to see how best we could assist the other two.
Because of the shallow, rocky nature of the shoreline it meant we were unable to safely beach our boat or even get particularly close without suffering damage to the hull so we decided to get a crew member to swim ashore attached to a line.
“The two casualties were both well although a little shaken. The decision was made to transfer them both to the lifeboat using one of the paddle boards as there was evidence of cliff falls in the area and it would be the best and quickest route to safety.
“The crew member swam back to the lifeboat to use the only inflated board and returned with a line attached so that the crew could pull the casualties through the rocks back to the boat. They were then returned to the beach at Rock-a-Nore where the Coastguard and family were waiting. It was a happy outcome and we were all pleased to be of assistance.”
Shout number four.
On Monday June 26 evening RNLI Rye Harbour and Pett Level Independent Rescue were engaged on a joint-training session which involved towing. It had not been under way for very long before the pagers went off. HM Coastguard requested that the Rye Harbour lifeboat should assist a yacht which had broken down in Rye Bay. The lifeboat arrived on the scene very quickly and the yacht was taken under tow. This was not training: this was a real scenario. The yacht was returned to its berth in Rye.
Paul Bolton, Lifeboat Operations Mananger said, “I’m so proud of the professionalism and dedication that the crew have shown during the last two days. It’s been a busy time for the station and everyone stepped up and used their training to Save lives at Sea.”
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.
Learn more about the RNLI
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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.