Sheppey’s new inshore lifeboat has been named Buster after a 99-year-old man who loved “messing about in boats”. The D-class rigid inflatable, with a top speed of 25 knots, was delivered to Sheerness on August 11 and has already been on 34 call-outs. On Sunday, more than 100 volunteer crew, supporters and friends of the Royal National Lifeboat Institute gathered in Queenborough’s Elephant Park to give the 5m-long rescue boat its name. Brian Mills, Buster’s son who sprayed champagne over the bows of the £52,000 boat, said: “It was a very proud moment for me to name the boat after my late father.
On Sunday afternoon, 9 April, a man fell about 10 feet onto another crew member from the mast of a yacht moored in Gillingham Reach. While the injured man was given oxygen, the Sheerness Inshore Lifeboat fetched a paramedic from an ambulance waiting at Gillingham Marina and then transferred him ashore. We understand the man suffered broken ribs.
There were two jet skis and eight personal watercraft (PWCs) in the area at the time and some of these were creating a lot of wash which was a nuisance and hazard to youngsters being trained in dinghy sailing at the Strand. The speed limit here is 6 knots (approx 7mph). Trevor Peen, a director of Medway Watersports, radioed Medway VTS to report this activity but could not get a response. When he called by phone he was told there was nothing they could do.
Mr Peen said, “I have campaigned for several years for parties to manage this situation, which gets worse every year to the point that these PWCs can achieve speeds in excess of 50 mph. During the afternoon I overheard a call on the VHF that there was an incident 1 mile east of the marina. It just so happens that I also belong to the Medway Cruising Club where these moorings are, so I know the area well. I went down to slow traffic down in the river as someone had fallen from a mast, I was told by the people on the boat that three speeding PWCs had created so much wash that the guy fell from the mast.”
Mr Peen added, “Three years ago when there was an incident that involved these craft on a jetty at Gillingham Marina, I was interviewed by BBC South east. I said that until someone dies here then nothing will be done. I have reported these incidents so often including photos. Please don’t let someone’s son or daughter die at the Strand.”
- Total launches in 2016 for the Sheerness lifeboats were 83.
- A total of 86 persons were rescued with 4 being deemed as lives saved with casualty care being administered by the crew
- 7 of the rescues involved persons under 18 years of age with the other 79 being over 18.
On 28 February the Sheerness inshore lifeboat rescued two men in their 6 metre RIB after it was swamped near the Kingsnorth jetty. A spokesman for Sheerness RNLI said, “The men were actually out in the craft for the first time when they were swamped by a wave which caused total electrical and engine failure.” The boat was towed to Queenborough Harbour.
Early yesterday morning the Sheerness lifeboat was called to a report of a burning vessel in the Prince’s Channel. On arrival they saw that it was the Princes No 5 buoy in flames, some 7 miles north of Herne Bay.
63-year-old yachtsman Ken Milburn, a member of Lower Halstow Yacht Club, has visited the RNLI station at Sheerness to personally thank the crew. In the early hours of 19 May Ken fell into the water when loading gear from his dinghy. Fortunately someone heard his cries for help and the crew of the Sheerness Inshore Lifeboat came to the rescue. Ken says a simple safety measure saved him, “Put your life jacket on. Go for a self-inflating one – fifty quid to save your life. Without one I would not be here!”
The RNLI station at Sheerness is not open to the public but the All-weather Lifeboat and Inshore Lifeboat will be on display for you to visit at the All Tide Landing, Crundall’s Wharf, Queenborough Harbour. Come and meet the Crew and helpers and find out more about the work of the RNLI. Demonstration by the Inshore Lifeboat, RNLI Lifeguards and HM Coastguard.
Operational requirements permitting, the RNLI Lifeboats, lifeguards and stalls will be on display along with Kent Fire Rescue Launch and Fire Tender, HM Coastguard, Classic Cars and Scooters.
The Sheerness Lifeboat team reports that a man clinging for his life to a buoy for two hours in the dark in the Medway Estuary was rescued by a Good Samaritan and Sheerness RNLI lifeboat volunteers. The 64 year old man had transferred from his yacht moored in Halstow Creek to a dinghy which then capsized, leaving him in the perilously cold water alone at night. Eventually the man’s cries for help were heard by someone in a nearby house sparking an emergency 999 call to the Coastguard and a late night launch of Sheerness RNLI’s inshore lifeboat Eleanor at 12.05am on Thursday 19 May.
Within less than half an hour of leaving their beds, the charity’s volunteer crew reached the area at 12.27pm and immediately launched two flares to illuminate the dark night and assist their search. RNLI helmsman Mark Tucker said: ‘We spotted a man in a small rhib type boat next to a mooring buoy who we later learned had been alerted by a phone call saying that cries for help could be heard in the creek.The chap got into his boat and eventually located the casualty in the water where he was clinging to the buoy. Having found the man in the water the Good Samaritan hadn’t been able to get him out and so hung onto him until we arrived on the scene.’
As the lifeboat neared the scene crew member Kris White jumped into the water to support the casualty before getting him aboard the lifeboat with the support of his fellow RNLI crew members. Kris added: ‘It was a pitch black night and the water was extremely cold. The guy was in a bad way. He was so cold he looked blue. We think he had been in the water for two hours. He was lucky he’d been spotted and help came. I don’t know how much longer he could have held on if he’d been alone but the fact that he was wearing his lifejacket undoubtedly saved his life because apart from the extreme cold there was a very strong tide running which would have been impossible to swim against.’
‘This incident goes to show how quickly and unexpectedly things can go wrong, even in a sheltered creek. We’d urge everyone to carry a waterproof means of communication, whether that’s a radio, a mobile phone in a protective pouch or even flares, so that if they find themselves in a similar situation they can call for help.’
The casualty was taken to a nearby slipway where he was handed over to a waiting South East Coast Ambulance Service crew. It is not thought the man’s condition was life threatening.
The ILB crew had earlier been called at 5.55pm on Wednesday 18 May to assist in the recovery of a body found in the water at Strood Pier.
Dover Marina as part of its open day on Saturday 21 May have arranged a “Flare Amnesty.” Private individuals can take flares along to Dover Marina between 10am and 1.30pm (not as previously stated) and dispose of them free of charge. Entry to the open day, which runs from 10am to 4pm. For further information please read the attached flyer: Dover Marina Open Day 2016