The day started early for Eastbourne RNLI’s volunteer crew (21 April) first with a dawn lift-out of the all-weather lifeboat for routine maintenance and antifouling then a call-out to assist a disabled yacht
Eastbourne all-weather lifeboat Diamond Jubilee was lifted out of the water early in the morning for its routine inspection and maintenance. Crew and supporters turned up in overalls armed with wire brushes and paint rollers and set to work removing marine growth and renewing the antifouling. With a good job done the lifeboat was craned back into the water shortly after 4pm. In less than two hours the pagers summoned the weary crew to launch to an emergency off Beachy Head.
A 30ft yacht was returning to Eastbourne with two people on board when it suffered engine failure. Unable to sail against wind and tide, rapidly going backwards and with no electrical power to radio for help, the skipper had to resort to a mobile phone to call for assistance. Fortunately there was a mobile signal and eventually HM Coastguard was alerted who requested Eastbourne RNLI to respond. Leaving Sovereign Harbour at low tide the lifeboat with its volunteer crew set out to rendezvous with the yacht some 2 miles south of Beachy Head. Soon on scene a line was attached and the yacht was slowly towed back to Sovereign Harbour. When there was sufficient water under the yachts keel it was taken into the safety of the marina locks. The lifeboat was refuelled and made ready for service with the crew finally returning to their families at 9pm after a long hard day.
Newhaven and Eastbourne lifeboats responded yesterday afternoon to an emergency ‘Mayday’ distress call from a twin engine motor cruiser when a suspected fire was discovered on board.
The Eastbourne based cruiser was motoring off Cuckmere Haven when the skipper became aware of what appeared to be smoke coming from the engine compartment of his vessel. Mindful of a recent incident off Eastbourne when a similar vessel caught fire and sunk, the skipper shut down his engines and put out a Mayday distress call. The rescue co-ordination centre at Dover Coastguard took control of the situation and requested the immediate launch of Newhaven RNLI’s Seven class lifeboat which was soon on scene. A lifeboat crewman was put aboard the stricken vessel and was able to establish that there was no fire risk but that one engine had become severely overheated and was letting off thick clouds of steam.
Following discussions between Eastbourne and Newhaven lifeboats and Dover Coastguard it was decided that it was safe for the cruiser to make its own way back to Eastbourne using its remaining engine. Newhaven lifeboat escorted the cruiser to Beachy Head where Eastbourne lifeboat took over the precautionary escort back to Sovereign Harbour.
Eastbourne RNLI all-weather lifeboat launched yesterday in response to a mayday distress call from a passing yacht after the crew saw a serious fire break out on a nearby motor cruiser.
Eastbourne all-weather lifeboat ALB) launched shortly after mid-day to assist the 37ft motor cruiser which had caught fire not long after leaving Sovereign Harbour on passage to Brighton. The two man crew were first alerted to a problem on their vessel when a fire alarm was activated. Whilst investigating the cause of the alarm a hatch was lifted which caused an immediate flare-up that soon engulfed the entire vessel. With no chance of fighting the fire there was no option but to abandon ship. Fortunately as well as the passing yacht which had raised the initial distress call there were a number of anglers in small fishing vessels in the area who all rushed to assist. The crew of the stricken vessel were taken off to one of these angling boats and the fisherman managed to deploy the anchor of the cruiser to stop it drifting with the tide potentially toward Eastbourne Pier.
Soon on scene Eastbourne lifeboat collected the rescued cruiser crew and took then ashore to a waiting ambulance where they were later pronounced fit and well. The lifeboat meanwhile returned to the now well ablaze motor cruiser. Having been alerted to the risk of exploding gas cylinders and other potential hazards aboard the cruiser the ALB had no option but to stay well clear and protect other vessels in the area. The stricken cruiser eventually burnt out and sank at about 14.30. The ALB crew collected the remaining floating debris and returned to harbour at approx 15.00.
Later Lifeboat Coxswain Mark Sawyer commended the community response to the incident saying how the prompt action of all concerned avoided what could have been a tragic outcome.