Sunday Training – A Big Beach Clean Up

As well as our usual training and maintenance of equipment last Sunday, the boat, base and beach crew volunteers were tasked with something else … a big beach clean up.

Whether as a result of the tides, some beach-based fly-tipping, dumping of waste at sea or a combination of these worrying factors, when the crews arrived at the boat house last Sunday there was a significant amount of debris on the beach, close to our launch slipway. The implications this has for safety and of course for the environment, meant a big beach clean up operation was a priority. 

The debris mostly appeared to be a significant combination of thick ropes and netting, which was caught up in one of the groynes. This type of beach debris can cause a potential hazard in many ways:

  • At low tide, to beach users and dogs.
  • To marine life and local bird life.
  • Being a risk to vessels and water craft, including our own launch vehicle and boats.
  • Because this debris was very firmly tangled in the groyne, it also adds to the submerged hazard of the groyne itself at high-tide.
  • This risk to vessels, including our own, has implications for our own rapid response to emergency call outs.

It was clearly a no-brainer that a clean-up was needed – and fast. So our volunteers decided to work to remove the debris, with a plan to cut it away and then use our launch / recovery vehicle to tow the netting off the beach.

In the event, it took around 45 minutes just to cut the netting away, as it was well and truly tangled around the groyne. Being nylon, it was also particularly hard-wearing and resistant to our efforts to just untangle it, so the only way to remove it was by cutting it.


Once towed up to the top of the beach, the debris was then sorted along the sea wall, and removed to the boathouse, so that it could be disposed of appropriately.

Our volunteers always work hard on Sundays down at the boathouse, and today was no exception, with everyone who was there involved in some aspect of the beach clean up.

As this shows, there’s plenty involved as a volunteer with Pett Level Independent Rescue Boat – even without setting foot on a boat! If you’re looking for a volunteering opportunity in 2020, please do think about joining us. Come on down to the boathouse (and the beach) any Sunday morning from 9 a.m. to find out about getting involved or contact us.

Support from the Community – Asda St. Leonards – again!

We’ve enjoyed some fabulous support from Asda St. Leonards in 2019, which was rounded off with another invite to take our Tornado boat up to the shop on Saturday 7th December.

Asda chose us as a local charity to support this year and have welcomed us to the shop twice this year. The visit last Saturday was a great way to round off the year of support from both Asda and shoppers in the St. Leonards community. It gave us the chance to chat with locals on a busy shopping Saturday. With just two Saturdays left until Christmas, our stand was well attended, our Tornado well investigated by eager children and our volunteers thoroughly enjoyed chatting to so many people and raise awareness about our work and about beach safety. It also gave us the chance raise some funds by selling some of our merchandise and by having a few donation buckets dotted around! 

Overall, this was amazingly successful for us. We had a great time meeting and greeting Christmas shoppers, who were generous with their time and donations. In all, we sold over £40 worth of our fundraising merchandise, including 2020 calendars, greetings cards and our car stickers. We also collected £494.93 in donations from the public and Asda staff who visited our stand.

We really would like to thank everyone involved in making the day such a success, including everyone who chatted and donated to us. We’d also like to particularly thank Asda for choosing us as a local charity to support in 2019 – as we’ve benefited from not just fundraising with them last weekend, but also on our previous visit to the St. Leonards branch back in August. We also received £200 as a runner up in their fun Green Token Scheme in September.

We may be an independent rescue charity, but we sincerely welcome community and corporate support

As an independent rescue boat charity we receive no national funding and raise all of our funds for running costs, equipment and training ourselves. We joke about the fact that fundraising ‘keeps us afloat’ but this is literally what it does and is one of the reasons why, when we’re not training, maintaining our equipment or providing rescue, support and first aid services in the local community, our volunteers are out there involved in fundraising activities.

The support from Asda this year has made a fantastic difference to us and has added a total of approximately £1,000 to our funds. We really couldn’t have achieved this alone, thank you Asda St. Leonards.

Supporting the Community – Surviving Christmas Handover

Our recent spell as a collection point for Surviving Christmas has now come to an end … but we managed to achieve our aim of a brimming box of goodies!

We’ve been very pleased to see lots of visitors down at the boathouse, where we’ve been acting as a charity donation pick up point for Surviving Christmas throughout November and early December. In fact, contributions of provisions and Christmas treats continued to arrive at our boathouse right up to the point of collection by Surviving Christmas Chair, Susan Peck and volunteer Dee Wentworth . 

Susan and Dee for Surviving Christmas, pictured receiving the grovery contributions brought by well-wishers to the PLIRB boat house collection point, with Fiona (Chair), Stella (Treasurer) and Jo (Secretary) of the Pett Level Independent Rescue Boat committee.

Susan and Dee arrived around 11.15 on Sunday and by then, with the extra donations on the day, our provisions box was overflowing, For ease of handing it all over, the provisions were split across three hefty bags for life. Both Susan and Dee expressed how grateful everyone at Surviving Christmas is for the extra donations and would like to join us in thanking everybody who donated items.

Surviving Christmas is run by volunteers, who work to support individuals and families in need for a considerable period across the festive calendar – right through from the 16th to the 27th December. If you would like to know more about helping them, and particularly about offering your services as a volunteer, please do check the Surviving Christmas website.

Thanks again to trustees, committee, crew, visitors and friends who have contributed to make the Surviving Christmas charity donation pick up point at Pett Level such a success and we look forward to supporting the charity and the community in this way again next year.


Support from the Community – Ocean Ceramics Fundraiser Update

So, time for an update of the successful fundraising event held by local ceramic artist Marian Mason, in her festive Open Studio event.

It’s great when individuals in the local community show support for charity at a local level. It’s particularly wonderful for a rescue service like ours, which is totally independent of any central funding and national-scale fundraising, and where everyone is a volunteer.

Marian is a fantastic example of this community support, and she has raised funds for us across two event this year. As well as her Mad Hatter’s event in the summer, last weekend Marian held the Ocean Ceramics Festive Open Studio as a way to combine selling some of her beautiful handcrafted ceramics with raising funds for two local charities – the Pett Level Independent Rescue Boat and St. Michael’s Hospice.

To support the fundraising aspect for us, Marian also hosted a table of the Pett Level Independent Rescue Boat merchandise, as well as a donation bucket.

We’re very pleased to now share Marian’s success! Many of Marian’s generous visitors bought some of our cards, calendars and stickers, so PLIRB merchandise is now getting ‘out there’. Still more of those at her event also popped donations into the bucket, all of which raised a wonderful total of £72.23 for our rescue charity. It’s worth remembering that, as summer is the main fundraising season for us and our fundraising slows considerably in the winter months, this amazing total is a real extra boost for us.

We would like to say a huge thank you to Marian for her hard work in holding this event, and for showing her support for charity causes close to her heart. Everyone here at Pett Level Independent Rescue Boat is very grateful for Marian’s support for us with this extra fundraising in 2019 – thank you so much!