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.