May starts with ‘MayDays’

May has kicked off in a very busy way, as from May Day we’ve been tasked to launch and assist on two occasions.

First SHOUT of 2021 – persons cut off by the tide

On the May Day bank holiday weekend, our volunteers opened the boathouse across all three days, to provide a proactive presence as lockdown lifts and the public enjoy the beauty of the beach.

And this ready presence proved useful when  our volunteers were tasked to assist on Sunday 2nd May in the afternoon. At the request of HM Coastguard, our Pulfer boat was launched to assist an adult, accompanied by two young people and three dogs, all of whom were stranded at the base of the cliffs after being cut off by the tide.

The three people and their dogs were assisted into the boat and returned to the safety of Pett Slip.
PLIRB rescue boat was tasked to assist on two occasions in May

Paying attention to safety signs

The walkers had intended to picnic, but had not anticipated how quickly the tide floods into the undercliff area of the Cliff End and Fairlight beaches.  In particular, they had not realised how the fast-rising tide cuts off the safe route to the main beach at Pett Level, despite the advice of our volunteers at the boathouse and the warning signage in the approach to Cliff End.
This incident highlights the importance of paying attention to tide times and warning signs, particularly if you are not familiar with the beach or coastline.

May 12th 2021 – assistance to kayakers

On Wednesday May 12th, just before noon, our volunteers were tasked by HM Coastguard to assist two kayakers who had been reported as being in difficulty just off the coast of Fairlight.

Although midweek, when we don’t have a ready presence at the boathouse, several of our volunteers were able to get to the boathouse very quickly, to launch the Pulfer boat with a very fast response time.


Launch of the Pulfer rescue boat in response to being tasked to assist by HM Coastguard. Thanks to Tony Green on ITV News Meridian for allowing us to share this video.

When they reached the scene, our rescue boat crew ascertained that the kayakers, who had hit choppy waters and had come off a twin kayak, had both managed to get back on to the kayak. After checks from our crew, the pair were escorted back to the safety of Pett Slip.

This incident highlights how important it is to report any difficulties you spot when at the beach. Neither kayaker had intended to go into the water and, as the recent #BeWaterAware campaign emphasised, it’s always worth a call to HM Coastguard if you see someone enter the water unintentionally.

Happily, this incident ended well, but it’s not always the case, so please do ensure you and your family know what to do if you spot someone in trouble in the water.


As an independent charity providing rescue services, we are 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.

PLIRB Charity Events – Save The Date

A quick update on our return to the ‘new normal’ as restrictions start to ease and we all follow the roadmap.

charity events update

Although we’ve stayed rescue-ready throughout all lock downs, it’s certainly fair to say that now restrictions are starting to lift, our volunteers are glad to be back to more of a community and boathouse presence.

As such, it’s time for a quick update on future plans and catching up with our charity events!

Open Day on the way?

Although we’re a bit sad that, for the second year running we can’t hold our May Open Day, we remain hopeful to be able to do so later in the year. The provisional date is for Sunday 29th August 2021. Please do save this potential date, which will be subject to any restrictions at that time.

Hot Tub Grand Draw

Our plan has always been that the fantastic Homewood Leisure Hot Tub Grand Draw would take place at our Open Day. So, in line with the change of date, please be aware that the draw will now take place on Sunday 29th August also.

Barbara’s Charity Shed

Barbara’s charity shed will be opening up as soon as possible once restrictions for non-essential shops are eased from 12th April. However, it’s proved a very cold Spring so far, so opening may be limited to those warmer hours of a Sunday.

Ongoing fundraisers

Without our community fundraising and running our own charity events, resources have been very stretched for us. For the time being, our ongoing fundraisers include:

  • The Homewood Leisure Hot Tub Grand Draw, with tickets available from our boathouse, 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. Like the raffle, the launch of this fundraiser stalled with the New year lockdown. However we’re hopeful that, now people can be out and about a little more safely and a little more often, the photograph entries for this competition will start coming in!
  • Our participation in the Weather Lottery. This lottery has been a bit of a lifeline in generating a little regular income for us over the last two lockdowns. We’ve set a goal of achieving 100 players in 2021, so the Weather Lottery are organising some new flyers for us (free of charge) and we hope to do a leaflet drop in the local area next month once restrictions ease further. If you’d like to find out more in the meantime, please visit our page at the Weather Lottery.


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

PLIRB Boathouse and the New Normal

As restrictions start to ease, here’s a quick update on our return to the ‘new normal’ at the boathouse.


charity events
Although our volunteers have been #rescueready 24/7 throughout the pandemic, our presence at the boathouse has been minimal. This has helped us to keep everyone safe, and to also so that we’re complying with general restrictions. As such, we’ve been limiting our visits to the boathouse to just those sessions necessary for keeping the equipment serviced and ready for call-outs.
However, the government’s ‘road map’ now guides us all towards a restart. So, we’re pleased to share that a phased return to our Sunday sessions will begin on Sunday March 28th. To start with it will still be just a few of our volunteers but we’ll gradually build things back up as restrictions lift further in the coming months.


A busy new normal
Being back at the boathouse means we can start carrying out our other essential work on equipment and around the base. It also means our crew training sessions can restart, in readiness for the beach getting busier. After all,  with overall restrictions lifting off the back of the Easter break and just as spring is in full bloom, we’re expecting visitor numbers to the beach to increase in much the same way as they did once restrictions were lifted last summer. It’s important to us and to the general safety of the area that we’re ready to assist when the new normal means an extra busy beach.
Our volunteers are very glad to be returning to the community with a more active presence. We certainly look forward to having friends, supporters and the public pop in to visit us at the boathouse once it’s permitted in a couple of months’ time.
Until then though, and particularly whilst mixing is still very limited, our new normal means the boathouse is only open to our volunteers. If you’re passing on a Sunday morning, perhaps just give us a wave or a thumbs up in greeting, so we can all continue to  stay safe for as long as necessary.




If you would like to make a donation to help us meet our running costs, then you’ll be actively getting on board with us to save lives – you won’t be in the boat, but your donation will be keeping us afloat and rescue ready.

Thank you so much!

PLIRB and Rescue Services Attend Pett Level Incident

On Tuesday 14th July, Pett Level Independent Rescue Boat teams were called out following reports of a swimmer in difficulties just off the coast at Pett Level.

At approximately 18:07, our teams were tasked to attend and prepare to launch. Rescue services colleagues from Hastings and Rye Bay Coastguard teams, RNLI Rye Harbour and the Search & Rescue Helicopter 163 team from Lydd were also tasked to attend.

Our volunteers responded quickly to the call for assistance. Base and boat crews arrived at the Pett Level slipway and boathouse within minutes off pagers going off.

Happily, soon after arriving it was confirmed that the individual who had been in the water was already ashore. The swimmer was being attended to by Hastings and Rye Coastguards, who were first on the scene. The winchman from the Lydd Search & Rescue helicopter  team also gave support.

At this time, boat-based rescue services were ‘stood down’. Emergency medical teams arrived quickly on-scene to take over the care of the casualty, as reported in the Observer Online.

Thanks to everyone who was able to respond in this incident. Although it turned out that it wasn’t necessary for us to launch, it’s always good practice for us to arrive #rescueready at the boathouse. And of course, we’d always rather respond to a ‘shout’ and not be needed because a casualty is safe.

We’re pleased to have been of assistance in this incident and hope that the swimmer makes a good recovery.

*Images courtesy of Martin Geldart – do not use without permission* 

Whilst you’re here …

As an independent rescue service, we are run by volunteers and fundraise to buy all of our own equipment and to pay our considerable running costs.

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.