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.