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Sheerness RNLI lifeboats called six times in less than 12 hours

Lifeboats News Release

In less than 12 hours the Sheerness lifeboat crew were called to six separate and different incidents at the weekend

The Dutch barge that had run aground safely under tow under a beautiful Sheppey sunrise.

RNLI/Clive Hancock

The Dutch barge on tow

The volunteer crew of the sheerness RNLI inshore lifeboat were first called at 4.28pm on Saturday 1 September by the UK Coastguard to a 32-foot yacht with one man on board that had been in collision with an inbound cargo ship and it was not known at the time if any injuries had been sustained.

Making best speed, the crew located the yacht north of the Nore Swatch buoy in the Medway estuary and having boarded the craft the lifeboat crew members found the occupant in a very dazed and confused state due to him having suffered a hypoglycaemic episode. The crew treated the man and once his condition was stabilised the yacht, with him still on board, was motored to the safety of the Lower Camber in Sheerness Docks where he was assisted ashore to wait for a Kent ambulance crew to take over his care.

The ILB was back on station at 5.45pm

As the inshore lifeboat was returning to station the all-weather lifeboat was launched after a call from the UK Coastguard reported that a 90-foot Dutch barge was reported to be aground at Warden Point.

The ALB located the craft, with three people on board, hard aground on the high-water line under the cliffs at Warden. All three persons on board were un-injured and happy to stay on board to wait for the next high tide.

The ALB was released and returned to station at 6.45pm

In the mean time the ILB had been called again by the UK Coastguard and launched at 6.39pm to help search for a vulnerable man who was missing in the area of Rochester Bridge.

Having arrived on the scene the crew made a search of the shoreline in the area until they were advised at 7.30pm that the man had been found in the car park at Strood station by the Medway Coastguard mobile unit and was unharmed and safe.

No sooner had the crew been stood down from this incident than they were immediately re-tasked to a 27-foot motor cruiser with five people on board that had broken down near to the M2 motorway bridge on the River Medway. Once the craft was located a tow line was attached and the ILB towed it to Cuxton Marina where it was secured on to the pontoon.

Having again been released and looking forward to getting back to station the ILB crew received a further call reporting that two females were in a precarious position on the wrong side of the railings of the A2 rail bridge over the river at Rochester.

Having already been in the area the ILB was quickly on the scene and stood by whilst a Kent Police team talked to the women and finally persuaded them to return to the safe side of the railings.

The ILB was released from this incident at 8.27pm and was finally back on station and ready for service after cleaning and re-fuelling at 9.40pm

The sixth call came at 4.35 am on Sunday 2 September when the all-weather lifeboat was requested to launch to assist the Dutch barge ‘Nieuwezorg’ that had run aground the previous evening at Warden Point with three people on board.

Once on the scene the Sheerness lifeboat was assisted by the Whitstable lifeboat crew, who had also been called, to attach a tow line to the heavy barge.

With the tow line in place the Sheerness ALB was able to successfully tow and re-float the barge which fortunately had not suffered any damage during its grounding.

With no damage sustained the barge was towed to a safe commercial mooring in Queenborough Harbour.

The ALB returned to station at 7.35am.

Wind easterly force 3 to 4 throughout.


RNLI media contacts

Vic Booth RNLI Lifeboat Press Officer (Sheerness) 07926904453 / 01795 880544 /

Paul Dunt RNLI Press Officer S.E. 07785296252

For enquiries outside normal business hours, contact the RNLI duty press officer on 01202 336789

The Dutch barge aground at Warden Point on the Isle of Sheppey

RNLI/Vic Booth

High and Dry
A different view of the grounded Dutch barge.

Luke Harris

Another angle.
The Sheerness all weather lifeboat 'The George and Ivy Swanson' making for Queenborough Harbour with the Dutch Barge under tow.

RNLI/Vic Booth

The Dutch Barge from the boathouse

Key facts about the RNLI

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is the charity that saves lives at sea. Our volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service in the United Kingdom and Ireland from 238 lifeboat stations, including four along the River Thames and inland lifeboat stations at Loch Ness, Lough Derg, Enniskillen, Carrybridge and Lough Ree. Additionally the RNLI has more than 1,000 lifeguards on over 240 beaches around the UK and operates a specialist flood rescue team, which can respond anywhere across the UK and Ireland when inland flooding puts lives at risk.

The RNLI relies on public donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. As a charity it is separate from, but works alongside, government-controlled and funded coastguard services. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824 our lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved at least 140,000 lives. Volunteers make up 95% of the charity, including 4,600 volunteer lifeboat crew members and 3,000 volunteer shore crew. Additionally, tens of thousands of other dedicated volunteers raise funds and awareness, give safety advice, and help in our museums, shops and offices.

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The RNLI is a charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SC037736). Charity number 20003326 in the Republic of Ireland