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.

Migrant beach landings – support to Border Patrol & Police Services

On Tuesday 10th September, volunteers at the Pett Level Independent Rescue Boat took part in a situation which was more of a support rather than a ‘Shout’ response.

As such, this incident didn’t involve our boat crews or vessels in a water-based rescue task. Instead, volunteers from the team supported other emergency services who were tasked with dealing with migrant boat landings on local beaches.

The incident took place during the afternoon, when Police and Border Force teams attended Pett Level to deal with a situation of an illegal boat landing on local beaches. Because the situation was in a very close vicinity of the PLIRB base and boathouse, PLIRB volunteers supported emergency service colleagues by opening up the boat house and lookout.

The venue and facilities were then used as a temporary base for our service colleagues to manage the situation from, with the PLIRB team on hand to provide equipment and refreshments as required to everyone who was in need of this.

The BBC later attended the situation, along with local journalists. The incident has since been reported in the local Rye and Battle Observer.

First Aid Update

Last weekend’s training took the whole weekend, with 9 base and boat crew volunteers taking part in First Aid training. 

This is the first wave (see what we did there?) of refresher training for established crew teams and new training for the latest volunteers, for the Level 3 First Aid at Work course.

The first part of the course involved 6 hours of in-depth online training, then two days of practicals delivered by tutor Corrina Anderson, who was amazing in guiding everyone through the practicals and in ensuring that our understanding and competencies are fully in place so that, if the need arises, we can be there to support any emergency, or rescue situation with the appropriate first aid until the emergency medical services arrive.

There were plenty of action shots taken across the two days. Day 1 provided quite a few out-takes as those newbies amongst the crew got to grips with slings, CPR and burns first aid. Passers by were treated to the sight of us all in the boathouse all gloved up and in various stages of dressing (s)!

But such sights were all in a good cause as by the time the assessments took place on day 2, our practice had paid off and we were able to offer a clean sweep of competencies when it came to the practicals, the written / oral questions and our reflective practice: with all 9 volunteers passing the course.

Of course, we’d prefer never to have to use any of this training, but beaches can be dangerous places and accidents happen so it’s essential to have the skills which help us prepare for any eventuality on a call out or a situation on the beach.

When we’re there, our boathouse base is a First Aid point for Pett Level beach, and now there will be many more first aiders around to help provide these services to beach visitors. In fact, from now and particularly once more crew complete the training, we should have qualified first aiders available on the boats and at the base, at the same time.

Special thanks go to Corrina for giving up her time to come and spend the whole weekend with us, and to Kev for organising it all. Oh, and for the fact that it’s happening all over again for another raft of crew members and trainees in the Autumn … Corrina was amazing so we can’t wait to welcome her back to do it all over again! Thanks so much for supporting us with this training, Corrina!

Beach Safety

Education about beach safety is always ongoing, and something which needs sharing so that everyone can enjoy the UK waters as safely as possibly.

Our local beaches are no exception, so we’re pleased to share that our new Beach Safety page is now live: you can take a look here or use the link on the home page.

Source: K Crowther

As the site continues to be a work-in-progress, you can expect the page to be updated regularly. So, if you have any particular safety information you’d like to know about local beaches, please let us know in the comments or contact us so we can share the answer to your question on the safety page, so that together we can help local communities and visitors enjoy the beaches safely.