Charity volunteers in rescue

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The boat used for the crossing was brought safely to shore at Pett Level

Pett Level Independent Rescue Boat charity volunteers were tasked to support a multi-agency incident at Pett Level last Saturday, May 16.

Multiple agencies attended the incident

The multi-agency incident followed reports of incoming boats in the English Channel, off the coast of Winchelsea. At around noon, Pett Level Independent Rescue Boat volunteer crews were tasked to attend the incident and provide support to local services, including HM Coastguard, RNLI Hastings and Sussex Police, with Border Force also in attendance.

The charity’s larger Pulfer inshore rescue boat was tasked to launch to provide safe escort and a tow line to a boat of 25 displaced persons. With a considerably low tide and high shingle ridges making recovery something of a challenge, the team’s launch and recovery vehicle was used to bring both the Pulfer boat and the landing boat up to the safety of the Pett level slipway.

In the meantime, the PLIRB boathouse and base were made available to service colleagues for operational shelter and refreshments. Foil blankets and water were provided for the occupants of the boat, along with first aid, where required.

Social distancing and PPE was worn where possible during the incident

Where possible, social distancing was maintained during the incident. Afterwards, PLIRB volunteers extended their usual clean-up routines, spending additional time cleaning and disinfecting all boats, suits, equipment and premises.

Preserving life from the sea

In a statement after the incident, Fiona Johnson, Chair of PLIRB Committee said:

“Our organisation was founded in 1970 as an independent rescue boat service, to save lives along the coast and inland waters of the Rye Bay area of East Sussex. The service we provide to the community has evolved and developed over time but our primary object remains the same, the preservation of life and the promotion of safety at sea.

“In accordance with our mission statement, our volunteer crew are trained to attend independently, or as part of a multi-organisational response, any incident on the water where there is a danger to life.

“On 16th May we were tasked to assist at such an incident, close to our headquarters at Pett Level. In conjunction with our colleagues from other organisations, 25 displaced persons were brought safely ashore.”

Volunteers spent an extended time on clean up after the event

As an independent rescue service, staffed by its charity volunteers, Pett Level Independent Rescue Boat is entirely self-funded and is currently welcoming nominations in May’s Movement for Good awards, as reported in last week’s Rye News.

Image Credits: Martin Geldart .

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