Saturday 14th July 2018 dawned bright and beautiful and saw some of the Pett Level Independent Rescue Boat crew attending the Rye Harbour Sailing Club’s July Sailability event to provide water safety support.

The weather was particularly spectacular (a far cry from the bright but pretty chilly days back in May where the crew also joined in with RHSC’s Sailability event). 

For today’s event, the Rye Harbour area was busy both quayside and on the water with visitors attending the RNLI Rye Harbour Open Day, would-be sailors joining in with the RHSC’s event and an assortment of leisure and fishing boats travelling down the harbour and along to Hastings ready for Pirate Day!

There was also a bit of a wait for boats at the river mouth as the highest point of the tide saw a large dredger boat going back out to sea, which caused all other river ‘traffic’ to pause to one side and watch this giant vessel make its way out of the harbour.

Make way for Neptune

But once the big boat was out of the way, there was soon quite a flotilla of smaller boats eagerly setting sail … including ours!

Busy harbour, lots of water safety watching for the crew

Our crew for the afternoon, Andy, Steve, Isaac and John in the Margaret and John Pulfer boat supported Luey’s crew as they tacked along the harbour mouth and up the River Rother.

Boat crew: Isaac, John, Steve and Andy

The tide seemed to remain high for quite some time but once it dropped, it went out pretty quickly, causing a few problems for sailing boats which had been moored temporarily and then found themselves dry-banked. Our crew were able to help pull the boats up to safety.

Assisting with sail boat recovery


Also in action onshore

Once the event was over, Rye Sailing Club provided plenty of refreshments for the hungry and thirsty crew  – many thanks for this.

We’re not affiliated with the RNLI, as we’re an independent rescue boat charity. But of course, we all have a common goal – to ensure safety in local waters, so it was great to spend time working alongside our RNLI colleagues from Dungeness and Rye Harbour today. Particular thanks too, tthe kind crew members from RNLI Rye Harbour lifeboat who supplied our crew with tea whilst they were all waiting for the large dredger to be clear of the harbour so other events could begin. Much appreciated.

However, it wasn’t plain sailing for all of the PLIRB crew this afternoon as, meanwhile, there were a few technical hitches with the tractor. Having launched the crew for the event, the tractor’s steering ram hoses burst which stranded the tractor in the shingle and emergency repair to replace both steering ram hoses was needed.

All this had to be carried out as an emergency so that:

  • The boat could be recovered once it returned
  • The tractor would not be at risk of being stranded in the water once the tide came back in.
  • The tractor would be repaired and working over the weekend, as the fine weather means there’s every chance of a Shout at any time.[Edited to add: as actually happened on Sunday 15th July].

All of which demonstrates that all donations we receive, however large or small are much appreciated and do indeed help us towards ongoing costs, as well as new equipment because all PLIRB equipment needs constant investment to keep it functioning safely.