The big news this week is that during last Sunday’s training, we had a visit from representatives of one of the local branches of Sainsbury’s.
The group were from the Station Plaza, Hastings branch of Sainsbury’s and they came to explore what Pett Level Independent Rescue Boat is all about, including what we do ~ and how we do it. And the reason behind it all? Our visitors really wanted to see what goes on and why fundraising is so important to us because we’ve been nominated as the Station Plaza branch’s Local Charity of The Year, to help out with our Reserve Launch Vehicle Fundraiser.
The timing of the tide on Sunday meant that the recent exceptionally low tides at training time gave way to a fast-incoming tide which was particularly rocking and rolling when it came to getting the boat in and out (not to mention the crew during crew changes)!
As usual, the tractor (and Kev) played a vital role in getting the boat launched and gave our guests the chance to see why it is essential that there is always a working tractor when it comes to getting the boat safely up and down the shingle ridge to the shore.
And the great news? After a morning spent with base and boat crews, committee members and trustees, the Station Plaza, Hastings branch of Sainsbury’s announced that they would be extremely happy to help us with raising the £12,000 target for our Reserve Launch Vehicle fundraiser.
Many thanks for the visit everyone and we look forward to bringing regular updates from our honourary Sainsbury’s Station Plaza crew (look out for our dedicated page on this coming soon)!
Saturday 14th July 2018 dawned bright and beautiful and saw some of the Pett Level Independent Rescue Boat crew attending the Rye Harbour Sailing Club’s July Sailability event to provide water safety support.
The weather was particularly spectacular (a far cry from the bright but pretty chilly days back in May where the crew also joined in with RHSC’s Sailability event).
For today’s event, the Rye Harbour area was busy both quayside and on the water with visitors attending the RNLI Rye Harbour Open Day, would-be sailors joining in with the RHSC’s event and an assortment of leisure and fishing boats travelling down the harbour and along to Hastings ready for Pirate Day!
There was also a bit of a wait for boats at the river mouth as the highest point of the tide saw a large dredger boat going back out to sea, which caused all other river ‘traffic’ to pause to one side and watch this giant vessel make its way out of the harbour.
Make way for Neptune
But once the big boat was out of the way, there was soon quite a flotilla of smaller boats eagerly setting sail … including ours!
Busy harbour, lots of water safety watching for the crew
Our crew for the afternoon, Andy, Steve, Isaac and John in the Margaret and John Pulfer boat supported Luey’s crew as they tacked along the harbour mouth and up the River Rother.
Boat crew: Isaac, John, Steve and Andy
The tide seemed to remain high for quite some time but once it dropped, it went out pretty quickly, causing a few problems for sailing boats which had been moored temporarily and then found themselves dry-banked. Our crew were able to help pull the boats up to safety.
Assisting with sail boat recovery
Also in action onshore
Once the event was over, Rye Sailing Club provided plenty of refreshments for the hungry and thirsty crew – many thanks for this.
We’re not affiliated with the RNLI, as we’re an independent rescue boat charity. But of course, we all have a common goal – to ensure safety in local waters, so it was great to spend time working alongside our RNLI colleagues from Dungeness and Rye Harbour today. Particular thanks too, to the kind crew members from RNLI Rye Harbour lifeboat who supplied our crew with tea whilst they were all waiting for the large dredger to be clear of the harbour so other events could begin. Much appreciated.
However, it wasn’t plain sailing for all of the PLIRB crew this afternoon as, meanwhile, there were a few technical hitches with the tractor. Having launched the crew for the event, the tractor’s steering ram hoses burst which stranded the tractor in the shingle and emergency repair to replace both steering ram hoses was needed.
All this had to be carried out as an emergency so that:
- The boat could be recovered once it returned
- The tractor would not be at risk of being stranded in the water once the tide came back in.
- The tractor would be repaired and working over the weekend, as the fine weather means there’s every chance of a Shout at any time.[Edited to add: as actually happened on Sunday 15th July].
All of which demonstrates that all donations we receive, however large or small are much appreciated and do indeed help us towards ongoing costs, as well as new equipment because all PLIRB equipment needs constant investment to keep it functioning safely.
This week’s Sunday session (8th July 2018) wasn’t a training session for crew, but instead everyone here at the Pett Level Independent Rescue Boat played host to visitors from local churches for the annual Sea Sunday service.
Sea Sunday is a united service arranged by the united Christian Churches in Pett:
- The Parish Church of St. Mary and St. Peter, Pett.
- Pett Methodist Church.
- St. Nicholas Church, Pett level.
Many visitors will recognise as St. Nicholas Church as the small chapel which is located right next to the PLIRB base. St. Nicholas is the Patron Saint of sailors and fishermen (among many other people) so the blessing of the boat in the shade of the boathouse and shadow of the chapel is a special community event.
The service included hymns, songs and story-telling from local school children and an official blessing of the boat by Rector Richard Barron.
Very unfortunately, we were struggling with tractor problems. This meant that the Margaret and John Pulfer boat, which would usually be on the slipway for the blessing, remained in its boathouse whilst crew mechanics carried out vital repairs on the tractor.
So, despite the sunshine and our many visitors, repair work had to continue throughout the service because the fine weather we’re having means that we’re on regular ‘stand by’ for Shouts across the local coastline. The Camber beach area is proving particularly popular whilst the weather holds and it’s essential to ensure that our vehicles are all ‘rescue-ready’ at all times.
The service ended with the PLIRB crew and committee hosting refreshments for our visitors. It was wonderful to see everyone and to feel such a part of the local community. Thank you all so much.
If anyone is interested in finding out more about the St. Nicholas Church and its long association with local sea rescue, please do visit the chapel and pick up a leaflet or visit www.fairlightandpett.com.
PS: The tractor is now working again!
Open Day plans are all underway and some of the crew are just so full of anticipation and excitement that there’s no holding them back.
Check out our entertainment poster boy Shaun, who kept us all entertained in the sunshine this weekend with a very laid back rendition of Mull Of Kintyre (hmmm, we have no idea why either)!
For this, and much
better more entertainment, please come and support us on Open Day, Sunday 26th August 2018.
See our dedicated Open Day page for more details.