PLIRB Events and Updates for July 21

A quick update on what’s been happening at out boathouse in recent weeks and what’s coming up for us now that we’ve hit July … 

Since returning to the boathouse once restrictions started to ease in March (at least for outside activities), our volunteers have been pretty busy. We’ve not just been getting back into old routines, but also adjusting these to take the ‘new normal’ into account.

Then, with the arrival of Easter and a round of restrictions lifting in April, local beaches started getting much busier. This has meant that our volunteer beach, base and boat crews have been involved in incident support and first aid to such an extent that we’ve had a rota of volunteer presence at the boathouse  on both weekend days throughout May and June. This will continue across the summer as we’ve had several call-outs which have benefited from our rescue-ready presence.

As part of this increased presence at the boathouse, we’re also regularly giving First Aid support on the weekends. As we anticipate a continued demand for this as the summer holidays progress, we’re happy to provide this community service as long as we have volunteers available.

To support us with  accident prevention, if you have visitors staying with you this summer, please make visitors aware of how easy it is to slip, trip and fall on the rocks and other hazards on local beaches.

Drowning Prevention Week

Whilst we’re talking about prevention, we’re also happy to share that we took part in the Royal Life Saving Society’s Drowning Awareness Week in June. The aim of the week is to raise awareness about drowning prevention and for our own part, we wanted to also share messages of how to reduce risk at local beaches. We’ve dedicated a blog post to this, so information and RLSS links and resources can be available across the other 52 weeks of the year too!

Communications Upgrade Project

We also happy to share some  exciting news about our Communications Project. Although we still have a little way to go with raising all the funds we need to upgrade the hardware used by our beach crews too, the dashboard platform and helmet bluetooth system for the Pulfer boat and its crews have now been successfully installed.

Already, this has made a huge difference in terms of clarity of communications. The system has the added benefits of being entirely hands-free for boat crew and is fully compatible with systems used by HM Coastguard, Search and Rescue helicopter teams and the RNLI, so our collaborative communications should now be much more effective when we are involved in multi-services incidents or taking part in joint training  with our emergency services colleagues.

Ongoing Fundraisers

With the continuation of the communications upgrade project, as well as all the usual costs of repairs to equipment and the need to ensure we have the running costs for next year covered, we have several fundraising activities planned. Of course, like everyone else, we’re waiting to see what 19th July brings but in the meantime, restrictions-permitting, our fundraising and events calendar is looking like this: 

  • We have been invited to take our Tornado boat, donation buckets and merchandise along to the Co-op at Winchelsesa Beach on Saturday 24th July and 31st July, so please come along and say hello.
  • We’ll also be coming up to be a part of Icklesham Fete on 7th August and Winchelsea Fete on August 14th, so again please come and see us to chat about the work we do or find out more about volunteering with us.
  • Our rescheduled Open Day is still planned for Sunday 29th August. This includes the Homewood Leisure Hot Tub Grand Draw. Tickets will be available right up to the draw date, including at our boathouse and at Winchelsea Fete. Tickets are also available from Fairlight Stores and Post Office, from The Old Butcher’s, Pett and of course from the generous donor, Homewood Leisure.
  • Our 2022 calendar photo competition. This competition is starting to gain momentum but plenty more entries would be welcome well before the closing date.

We look forward to updating you further as things open up a little more. In the meantime, #staysafe and #beachaware out there.


We’re an independent charity run solely by volunteers.

We receive no government or central funding and have to fundraise every penny needed to buy and maintain our equipment and to pay our considerable running costs.

Since the start of 2020, our running costs have increased to around £10,000 a year.

If you like the work we do and would like to support us, your donation would really be appreciated.

Anything you can spare will help us to help those in danger on our local coastline.

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

Local MP Visit & Support For Independent Rescue Boat Charities

Now that visitors are allowed (in limited numbers) down at our boathouse, we’re pleased to be having visitors. Our latest, on 4th June 21, was our local Hastings and Rye MP, Sally-Ann Hart.

On her last visit to our boathouse last September our problems accessing grants the local government made available to charities in the pandemic were a real topic for discussion! And since then, mindful of the role we play in the community, Sally-Ann has remained in touch. In particular, Sally-Ann has been working with us to identify how local and national government could better support a charity such as ours – ie: an independent rescue boat service with a unique, historic set up which falls outside of the criteria for the majority of grants made available by the local authority.

But in April, after a long year of challenges and a worrying deficit in our running costs, we finally secured a Discretionary Grant of just under £5,000 from Rother District Council. Sally-Ann was very pleased to hear the news and keen to re-visit to find out more about our work and plans for 2021.


“I was really pleased to hear that the government grant has been useful. I would urge everyone to support this local charity that does so much to support its local community and beach safety.”

Sally-Ann Hart, MP for Hastings & Rye

support a charity, Pett Level Independent Rescue Boat
support a charity, Pett Level Independent Rescue Boat

Helm and Launch Authority volunteer Steve gave Sally-Ann a tour of the boathouse, operational  facilities and Look Out areas. This opportunity to review our facilities and log-book gave Sally-Ann a good insight into the extensive demands on our self-funded rescue service. And of course, she was also able to see first-hand the facilities and equipment needed to maintain operations.

With this in mind, chat led to the costs of  keeping our rescue service (including the volunteers) fully equipped and safely operational. From there, our future funding and equipment needs were  discussed, so Steve shared the plans for our upcoming equipment upgrade of a Bluetooth, hands-free communication system for our Pulfer boat and crews.

support a charity, Pett Level Independent Rescue Boat

Out in all weathers

All of which led us back outside to view our most recent (and huge) equipment upgrade: the almost-finished replacement launch & recovery vehicle.  As locals know, this vehicle is absolutely essential for launching our boats – whatever the weather and tide is doing! If it’s high, a vehicle’s essential to safely negotiate the shingle beach; if it’s low then there’s a long way to go, across shingle, rocks, sinking mud and sand to get the boats to the water! To cope with all this, the vehicle needs to be fully robust and extremely reliable.


“It’s great to have an update on the work that the volunteers at Pett Level Independent Rescue Boat are engaging with, and to see the new launch and recovery vehicle.”

Sally-Ann Hart, MP for Hastings & Rye

But it doesn’t come cheap and although the vehicle’s now up and running, it’s already cost just shy of £25,000, with more to go. And of course, it doesn’t stop there, as the vehicle that this newly refurbished one replaces now needs an upgrade and refit of its own, as we do need a functional reserve launch vehicle!

Despite the seriously deteriorating weather, Sally-Ann then chatted to other volunteers about these future plans, plus recent call outs, how they have managed to maintain a service throughout the pandemic and the difference that finally receiving the Rother Council grant in helping us to cover our running costs for 2021.

Independent Lifeboat Association

Sally-Ann also gave an update on her collaboration with other MPs, to help establish an Independent Lifeboat Association (ILA). The aim of the ILA is to build awareness and recognition for the work of independent lifeboat and rescue boat charities across the UK generally.

After the visit Kev, our charity’s Chair, had a few words to say about why it’s particularly welcome when the local authority, public figures and businesses support a charity which funds its own running costs, year-in-year out.


“It was good to see Sally-Ann Hart, even though it was so wet and blustery for her visit! Sally-Ann had a good look around the rescue boat facilities and was impressed with what she saw. It’s good to receive the support for what we do and we are heartened by her ongoing support, especially with her involvement with the start of a national independent lifeboat association. Everyone here is a volunteer and we look forward to more interest and support in the future.”

Kev, Chair of PLIRB Charity


If you would like to support us, your donation will help us assist those in danger on our local coastline.

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