Pett lifeboat launches shanty group


It’s been a bit of a glum summer, but down in our beautiful corner at Pett Level, we’ve been singing out for joy – and welcome all readers to join us and help support our cause.

Pett Level Independent Rescue Boat (PLIRB) is an independent lifeboat service based in Pett Level, founded in 1970. We serve the coastline and inland waters between Camber and Hastings – and beyond if required. We are one of around 80 independent lifeboat stations across the UK and a member of the National Independent Lifeboat Association.

Being entirely independent, we are responsible for managing our operations and raising our own funds – whether out shaking buckets or applying for grants. Our volunteers and crew train twice a week to learn vital skills and we are proud to provide a life-saving service to our community. We are tasked by HM Coastguard in the same way as the RNLI and deliver the same vital services – working in partnership with our neighbouring RNLI colleagues at Rye and Hastings, as well as the HM Coastguard teams and other emergency services.

We work exceptionally hard to ensure to serve our community – our operational costs alone are in excess of £30,000 per year. On top of that, we are working towards upgrading our physical footprint to provide better facilities for our volunteers and a much needed new rescue boat. These are huge expenses for an independent and every volunteer commits an extraordinary amount of time – not just to train, but to ensure these funds are secured.

However, we are not just a dedicated lifeboat service. We are an incredibly close unit and have been developing some surprising new talents.

Earlier in 2023, the partner of one of our crew suggested we form a singing group, partly for fun but with a view to raising essential funds (if they were any good!).

And, well they really are. Under the guidance of a professional singing coach, some of our crew have formed a very respectable sea shanty group and are doing vocal training every week.

Aptly named the Pett Slip Buoys (we operate from Pett Slip and our local area has a connection to the Pet Shop Boys) the group of nine have embraced singing with complete gusto and sound fabulous. It’s authentic, unmanipulated and fun – they genuinely love it.

The motivation of the group is to help raise vital funds for our lifeboat service and promote recruitment. We are hosting a public event on Sunday, September 24 which will be their first public performance. They have done a few private performances and have been on Radio Sussex and Meridian News.

We invite everyone to come down and support the Buoys at the event and hopefully donate some pennies – not only to promote our fabulous singing boys, but also to highlight the crucial role that independent lifeboats provide across the UK. Most people are aware of RNLI when it comes to saving lives at sea – but independent lifeboats are relatively unrecognised. We would love to raise the profile for every independent.

We hope to see you there!

Image Credits: The Pett Slip Buoys .

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