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Dungeness RNLI tasked to assist sailing vessel in difficulty in strong winds

On 22 August 2020, the Dungeness Shannon-class lifeboat and her volunteer crew were tasked to assist a sailing vessel in need of urgent assistance in the shipping lanes of the English Channel.

Lifeboat towing the sailing boat to safety in Rye Harbour

Photo by Lisa Adams

The pagers alerted the crew at 7.37am and the lifeboat launched to search for the vessel approximately 17 miles south east of Dungeness. There were two dredgers in the area assisting with the search and one was able to inform the lifeboat of the casualty vessel’s position.

Once on scene, it was established that there was one person on board who needed assistance due to the force 7/8 winds overwhelming the sailing boat.

A crewman was put on board to assist and a tow line was established. It was decided that the lifeboat would tow the casualty to Eastbourne however due to the force of the weather, plans were then changed and the casualty was towed to the safety of Rye Harbour. The lifeboat then returned to station and was back on service by 4pm.

Stuart Adams, RNLI Coxswain for Dungeness RNLI Lifeboat, says: ‘The casualty vessel was in difficulty due to the strong winds and did the right thing in calling the UK Coastguard for help. We always advise that you take a means of communication with you when entering or sailing on any body of water so that you can dial ‘999’ and ask for help in an emergency.’

RNLI media contacts

  • For more information please telephone Sarah Beck, Deputy RNLI Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer on 07956 615429 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Paul Dunt, RNLI Regional Media Manager on 07785 296252 or RNLI Public Relations on 01202 336789.
  • For enquiries outside normal business hours, contact the RNLI duty press officer on 01202 336789

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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, in a normal year, 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.

A charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SCO37736). Charity number CHY 2678 in the Republic of Ireland