Littlehampton and Selsey RNLI work with coastguard in joint search
The Police received a telephone call from a member of the public at 6.55pm on Thursday 28 July, reporting that a windsurfer had gone missing just off the coast at Bognor Regis.
The police contacted the Coastguard, who then requested assistance from Littlehampton RNLI lifeboat crew.
Littlehampton RNLI’s Atlantic 85 lifeboat, Renée Sherman, and volunteer crew were already out at sea undergoing training exercises. The lifeboat headed out to an updated location near Felpham, one mile from the original position and commenced the search.
At 7.25pm, helmsman Andy Harris requested further assistance and Selsey RNLI launched their Tamar class All-Weather Lifeboat, Voluntary Worker, and extended the search area to one mile off shore.
At 8.02pm Selsey RNLI launched their D Class inshore lifeboat (ILB), Betty and Thomas Moore, to search nearer the shore line between Bognor and Selsey. At the same time Littlehampton RNLI’s D class lifeboat Ray of Hope, and volunteer crew launched to carry out a search along the shore line between Littlehampton and Bognor, followed by a second search one hundred metres from the shore back towards Littlehampton.
A coastguard helicopter arrived at the scene at 8.58pm to help with the search.
Following contact between the agencies involved it was established that the searches had revealed that the report of a windsurfer missing in the sea was not verified. Therefore, all units were stood down and returned to their respective stations.
A spokesman for the RNLI commented: 'Although the mission turned out to be a false alarm with good intent, it was also a great display of joint working between Littlehampton and Selsey RNLI crews, coastguard search teams on the ground and the coastguard rescue helicopter crew.'
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Key facts about the RNLI
The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates over 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.