Sea Sunday, Safety Patrols & Missing Children at Camber

Another busy training session at our boathouse, which included being tasked to assist the search for missing children at Camber.

missing child at Camber, tasked to assist, Sunday training
Today was a glorious day down at Pett Level and a busy day for the Pett Level Independent Rescue Boat volunteers!

The day started with the annual Sea Sunday, a service that celebrates and give thanks for all those on the sea. There is a tradition for this to take place at our boathouse, which the pandemic sadly cut across for a significant time. Today, the service was resumed and it’s our pleasure to host the event and receive a blessing for the boats and crews.
volunteer beach teams and rescue crew training and tasked to assist
After the service the crew remained on station and launched to do a patrol of the local area. The beaches from Pett to Winchelsea Beach, across Rye Bay to Camber were incredibly busy with families enjoying the wonderful weather. Previous years have shown that unexpected incidents can happen at any time, so being immediately available is crucial. And in the event of such a fine weekend, it also proved necessary …

Tasked to assist in the search for missing children at Camber

At 18:30 we were tasked by UK Coastguard to assist in the search for missing children at Camber beach. We joined colleagues from RNLI Rye Harbour offshore at Camber, alongside local Coastguard teams.

All children were found safe and well, which is great news. Just as we were making our way back, we were requested by Coastguards to remain on scene to be available incase of further incidents. With so many thousands of visitors on the beach who are not familiar with local conditions, on a day like today it was clear our safety support could be needed at any time.

After remaining on scheme, we then returned to station around 7:30 pm. Then there was more busy-ness as our volunteers carried out the ‘recovery’ tasks. So, after a very ‘Sea Sunday’, our volunteers were then busy washing down the suits, boats and equipment, plus refuelling and preparing the boats to be #rescueready for the next call out.

boat recovery following SHOUT to search for missing person

A huge thanks to all our volunteer crew who continue to give their time on such a beautiful day. A special thank you too to the supporters an donors who help keep our independent rescue boat charity afloat.



Bright and Breezy Sunday Training

Another glorious team training day down at Pett Level Independent Rescue Boat’s boathouse! This morning we were blessed with such wonderful sunshine and a timely tide, perfect for getting both boats onto the water for scenario training …

team training, independent rescue boat, East Sussex
Both our Pulfer boat and our smaller Tornado boat were launched with volunteer crews to train across a variety of exercises. These began with “person overboard!” training, focusing on the different methods of bringing a casualty into each of the boats. This scenario was rehearsed repeatedly across a range of difficult (but likely) positional and casualty injury situations. 
team training, independent rescue boat, East Sussex
Having both boats afloat is also the ideal time to include some team training in establishing a tow to a boat. Today, the tide was perfect for rehearsing in a precarious location with hazardous rocks below the water.

The breeze was also useful in helping our trainee helms learn more about boat handling whilst other members of the team established the tow. This worked successfully across both boats.

But of course, team training involves all the teams. Today, this meant our base and beach crew volunteers could monitor and rehearse the onshore activity involved in such rescues.

team training, independent rescue boat, East Sussex
Our volunteer crews, including our beach and base crews, work hard in team training, as part of our commitment to always being #rescueready. 



Sunday Training & a Hazardous Container Scenario

Another beautiful day for our Sunday morning boathouse session! But there was no time to enjoy the beauty of the beach as our teams were busy with vital equipment checks and maintenance, plus hazardous container scenario training to help keep our beach, base and boat crews #rescueready at all times.

Pett Level beach, rescue training scenario
Today’s rescue scenario training included some regular tasks and activities, including towing another vessel and man over board. There’s always an ‘unexpected’ scenario for the volunteers though, and today it was training in how to deal with a hazardous container on the beach!
This isn’t something our crews are very regularly faced with, but with pollution increasing, it’s a likely scenario and it has been known along our local coastline. There are also many possibilities and courses of action depending on the contents of different kinds of container – as well as essential actions in the case of unknown contents. So, this is all essential rescue scenario training for all of our volunteer teams.
rescue training scenarios during Sunday training sessions

A hazardous container – would you know what to do?

Would you know what to do, or what to advise your children if any of you spot a hazardous container on the shoreline or on the beach? It’s essential that everyone knows to stay well away from the item and call 999 or 112 for the Coastguard. 



Sunday Training – plus SHOUT!

Well that was a busy morning, and one which really proved the importance of our rescue crew training to be ready for anything …

rescue crew training and tasked to assist
It started off as a usual Sunday morning, with our volunteers at the boathouse for training exercises. Both the John Pulfer and Pett Tornado boats were busy doing comprehensive training, involving lots of different scenarios!

These scenarios involve all of our rescue crew training for all aspects of our work, including beach crews and base crews.
volunteer beach teams and rescue crew training and tasked to assist
All our volunteers are committed to always being ready for any situation at any time. And today, whilst the teams were all in the right place at the right time …


Our volunteers were asked to assist RNLI Hastings in the search for a missing person. The person was believed to be missing between our local Cliff End area and Hastings. 

With the morning’s training having just ended when the call came through to us, our teams were rescue ready and able to assist immediately. After an extensive search no-one was found. Our crews were then stood down by Solent Coastguard and returned back to base for the busy task of leaving the boats and the boat house rescue ready for the next call to assist.

boat recovery following SHOUT to search for missing person
Congratulations and well done to our teams today for their hard work and dedication to their volunteer roles.



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.