On Thursday 25th June, Pett Level Independent Rescue Boat teams were tasked to support HM Coastguards in a search and rescue incident.

At approximately 11:15 am, our teams were  tasked by Solent Coastguard to launch and assist in the search for a person who was thought to be missing along the coastline of the Fairlight and Ecclesbourne Glen areas. Also involved were local  Bexhill and Hastings Coastguard teams, Sussex Police, RNLI Hastings and the Lydd Search and Rescue Helicopter team.

Although a busy work morning, several of our volunteers were able to respond to the call for assistance, with enough crew for our Pulfer Boat to be launched within approximately 15 minutes of the initial call.

Once launched, the boat crew was directed to Fairlight Cove to liaise with Hastings Coastguards who were already searching the area for the missing person. At this stage, RNLI Hastings were stood down. With our Pulfer boat being an inshore vessel, the PLIRB crew were able to get ashore to pick up the Hastings Coastguard team and take them to another search location by boat. Those on board continued to search the water and coastline on the way. The Lydd Search and Rescue helicopter team searched from the air, as reported in the Observer Online at the time.

Once at the alternative beach location at Ecclesbourne Glen, members of the public supported the search and rescue teams with information about when the man was last seen in the area. At this time, Sussex Police were also responding to reports and making enquiries in the man’s local area. As a result of this, the call came through that the missing person had been located at home.

Recovery and clean up – Covid-style!

At this point, our crew returned to the boathouse, bringing the Hastings Maritime & Coastguard team back to shore with them. As usual, our beach and base volunteer teams supported the boat crew in getting the boat safely recovered to the boathouse.

Currently, getting cleaned up takes a good while longer, due to the additional measures in place to make the premises and equipment as Covid-secure as possible. However, many hands made much lighter work and our volunteers were able to make good time in getting everythig ship-shape and rescue-ready for next time.

Thanks to everyone who was able to respond in this search and rescue incident. We’re pleased to have been of assistance and we’re very happy that the missing person was found safe and well.

We’d also like to say a big thank you to members of the public who were using the beach, but moved cheerfully and quickly out of the way so that we could launch and recover the boat quickly, safely and with social distancing in mind. We appreciate your co-operation – it makes the work of our volunteers so much easier!

*Archive photo of our Pulfer boat in action* 

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.