Storm Ciara challenges Margate RNLI lifeboat crew

Lifeboats News Release

Margate’s volunteer RNLI lifeboat crew put to see in storm force weather conditions today to investigate a report of an object in the sea off North Foreland.

Margate RNLI all-weather lifeboat 'Leonard Kent' at sea (RNLI Margate)

RNLI Margate

Margate RNLI all-weather lifeboat 'Leonard Kent' at sea (RNLI Margate)

UK Coastguard received a call from a member of the public around 2pm today (Sunday 9 February) reporting sighting of a black object in the sea around 800m off Whiteness Point, Kingsgate Bay two miles east of Margate harbour. The south coast was in the grip of storm Ciara at the time with sustained winds of around 55mph on the coast and gusts of up to 70mph recorded further offshore.

Margate Coastguard Rescue Team was tasked to investigate and were able to confirm the sighting but due to the bad weather conditions unable to establish what the object was. Margate’s RNLI all-weather lifeboat was asked to investigate and in challenging weather conditions commenced a search of the area guided by coastguard officers ashore.

After a short time, and with a degree of relief a seal was spotted and in consultation with coastguards ashore it was agreed that this was the original object sighted. After a further search of the area the lifeboat was released and returned to station.

Nick Smith, Deputy Launching Authority, Margate Lifeboat said: “Given the atrocious weather conditions there was real concern this could have been a serious incident. Fortunately, it was a false alarm and we would like to thank those who called the coastguard, we are always prepared to investigate what could be a false alarm rather than assume as such and delay response to a genuine distress situation. If anyone sees anything suspicious at sea or on the coastline dial 999 and ask for coastguard.”

ENDS

RNLI Media contacts

· Peter Barker, RNLI Margate Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer 07974 064304 peter_barker@rnli.org.uk

· Paul Dunt, Regional Media Officer (SouthEast), 0207 6207416, 07786 668825 paul_dunt@rnli.org.uk

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

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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.

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