PLIRB in Multi-Agency Incident Response

On Saturday 16th May, the Pett Level Independent Rescue Boat team was tasked to support multiple agencies in an incident on the Pett Level coastline.

Our teams were  tasked in response to an incident alongside other coastal rescue team colleagues at HM Coastguards and RNLI Hastings. Sussex Police and Border Force were also involved in the incident, of an incoming boat arriving to the local beach at Pett Level.

Many of our volunteers were able to respond to the call for assistance. Available individuals, including Helms, Launch Authority, crew members, trainees and base volunteers, all arrived quickly and responded as directed.

An extremely low tide made both the dinghy’s arrival and the involvement of larger rescue craft hazardous, so an inshore rescue boat was the only craft suitable for safely providing a tow. In response, our Margaret & John Pulfer inshore rescue boat was launched, with a crew of three.

Whilst providing a tow to the dinghy, our crew also gave safe escort for the 25 displaced persons who were on board. Once ashore, the occupants of the boat, who had sailed across from France, were supported by the multiple agencies who were present.

Our base crews then supported with first aid assistance, providing foil blankets and water, as required. Our base and boathouse was made available to emergency services and Border Force. In this way, we were able to accommodate the boat’s occupants and provide operational shelter and hospitality for our service colleagues.

As lockdown restrictions are not yet fully lifted and there was a significant number of services gathered to help with the incident, social distancing was maintained as much as possible in the circumstances.

Once the incident was stood down, our volunteer crews then spent an extended time cleaning and disinfecting all equipment and premises, before the Pulfer boat was finally returned to the boathouse.

Thanks to everyone who was able to respond this afternoon – we’re pleased to have been of assistance.

*All photos were taken by PLIRB volunteers John and Martin – please do not use without permission *

Whilst you’re here …

As an independent rescue service, we fundraise to buy all of our own equipment. We now urgently need to replace foil blankets and other resources used in this incident. But with our community fundraising still in lockdown, it could take us a while.

However, If you like the work we do and would like to support us, your donation would really be appreciated and would, ultimately, help us to help those in danger on our local coastline.

Thank you so much, from the volunteers at Pett Level Independent Rescue Boat.

Support Our Charity with a Movement for Good Nomination?

At Pett Level Independent Rescue Boat, we’re well recognised for our work in helping and protecting our coastline communities. 

But just for a change, throughout May, we’re asking for a bit of help from the community instead, with charity nomination or two, if possible …

How to help us with charity nominations

Now we’re well into May, the national Movement for Good awards are open. In this donation scheme, run by specialist insurer Ecclesiastical, charity nominations are gathered for a draw, with each charity having the chance to win £1,000.

Because we’re a registered UK charity, we’re eligible to be in the draw … and the more nominations our charity receives, the greater our chances of being selected to win one of the £1,000 awards.

It’s quick and easy to nominate Pett Level Independent Rescue Boat online, using our charity number 286891. Nominations are already open and can be placed online at Votes can be made until Sunday 24 May 2020, with the random draw taking place in early June.

Please support our Communications Upgrade project …

As our friends know, although we’ve remained rescue-ready throughout the current pandemic lockdown, our usual fundraising activities have somewhat stalled. This means our hopes of raising enough cash to complete our Communications Upgrade Project look rather doubtful.

We’ve been hoping to raise the £6k we need to upgrade our base and boat communications system to an innovative hands-free, bluetooth system. We’ve got the option on buying a system from a company which specialises in communications designed for heavy duty use in extreme environments – exactly what’s needed for a rescue service along this particular stretch of the coast! 

So, with the Movement for Good draw taking place in June, the chance of winning £1,000 in the near future would certainly help – not just us, but many charities, as Mark Hews, Group CEO of Ecclesiastical, recognises:

We’re delighted to announce the launch of Ecclesiastical’s Movement for Good awards for the second year running. The coronavirus is having a major impact on charities and many are facing financial difficulties. Our Movement for Good awards will continue to help charities at a time when they need it most and we know that for many charities, £1,000 can make a real difference.”

Looking ahead

Thanks to the combination of the latest adjustments to the lockdown rules relating to exercising, open spaces and meeting up with a friend outdoors, the beaches are already becoming increasingly busy. In response, we still hope to maximise our service by raising enough money to get the new system installed this year.

Over the last week, more and more people have been visiting local beaches at Pett, Winchelsea Beach and Camber and this will only increase as the summer progresses and lockdown lifts. After all the nation has been going through, here at the PLIRB we really feel it’s important to be ready to support safety along the coastline, as Fiona, Chair of the PLIRB Committee, shares:

“Whether you walk or play on the beach with your family and friends or enjoy any watersport, we are on call 24/7 should you get into difficulties. We are there to help you feel safe and enjoy the benefits of the beautiful waters and coastline of this iconic part of East Sussex.”

So, if you like what we do and are able to support us with a charity nomination over at Movement for Good (using our charity number 286891) we would really appreciate it. To be honest, it would make such a difference to us at this current time. If you’d also like to share this blog post and publicise this opportunity using social media, that would also be grand!

We look forward to updating you all next month with any positive outcomes and of course we also look forward to seeing everyone properly again soon too! In the meantime, please stay safe and well.

Community Volunteering During Covid-19

At Pett Level Independent Rescue Boat, our volunteers maintain an on-call service 24/7, ready to respond when tasked to issues along the coastline. 

And although we haven’t been able to gather together as a group to carry out our other activities, such as fundraising, committee and trustee work, community support has remained close to our hearts …

Community volunteering during lockdown

So several of our volunteers have been quietly – and individually – supporting other community causes over the last three months.

Take Kev (photo above), our Launch Vehicle volunteer, who explains his motivation for community volunteering and the groups he’s been helping:

“I spent most of my working life in crown service, army and Prison Service, so when this virus hit our shores I felt that I needed to contribute in some way other than supporting my wife who is an A&E Sister. I first signed up to NHS Responders for buddy chats and medicine delivery but, as I only had one call to volunteer, I decided to look for other ways to contribute.

So I also joined Team Rubicon UK, a veteran-based international volunteer service. They’d just started Op-React in response to the pandemic. However, most jobs aren’t in my area so I found a volunteer motorcycle group, Volunteer Riders UK. This group transports vital PPE around the country by bike, quite often via complicated relays from one end of the UK to the other. I’ve now completed my first job collecting and delivering scrubs from one volunteer to another in Kent.”

Other PLIRB volunteers are also carrying out roles in the community.

Three of our volunteers joined the local arms of the Rye Mutual Aid group, delivering medication and shopping to local residents in Pett, Winchelsea and Winchelsea Beach. This support has been ongoing since the early weeks of the crisis and continues, as John’s photo shows!

Two of our team members also volunteer with the NHS Volunteer Responders and GoodSam, delivering medication in Fairlight and other local communities.

Another of our team has also responded to the call for additional workers in retail, and is now working temporarily as a delivery driver for a well-known supermarket.

Looking out and looking ahead

So, whilst you’re not seeing our familiar faces down at the boathouse, please be assured we’re very much around and looking out for our communities. And of courrse, we’re also looking ahead to when we’ll be able to resume our own full services in the local area.

In the meantime, if you’re interested in any of the groups we’ve mentioned, please see below:

  • If you would like to receive help or volunteer for Rye Mutual Aid, you can visit the Rye Mutual Aid website or contact them direct on Facebook.
  • If you’re a veteran and would like to be involved with Re:Act, there’s plenty of information on the Team Rubicon website.
  • Similarly, if you have a motorbike and want to get involved, check out the Volunteer Riders UK group on Facebook.

Finally, if you are a local resident and need some help, Rye News recently published a useful Services Offered page, with links to various community groups and services. Rye News also has a separate page with more information and contact numbers for all the groups (including Pett) which are part of Rye Mutual Aid.