1993

The All Weather Lifeboat moved to Sovereign Harbour.

The Eastbourne All Weather Lifeboat Crew in the newly opened Sovereign Harbour 1993

From left to right

Paul Metcalfe (Assistant Mechanic) now Lifeboat Operations Manager, John Hemingway (Crew Member),

Dave Corke (Coxswain/Mechanic), Martin Charlton (Crew Member), Andy Huggett (2nd Coxswain),

Peter Hurt (Emergency Mechanic), Steve Corbett (Crew Member), Mark Sawyer (Crew Member) now Coxswain.

Eastbourne’s ninth lifeboat “The Royal Thames” (Mersey Class) was named by Her Royal Highness Princess Michael of Kent in a special ceremony that took place at Sovereign Harbour Marina on Monday 6th September.

The Royal Thames was provided by funds raised as a result of an appeal to members of the Royal Thames Yacht Club together with the proceeds of a local appeal in Eastbourne, a generous anonymous gift and other gifts and legacies

Motor Vessel “Tern”

Motor Vessel “Tern”

Motor Vessel “Tern”

The Royal Thames was launched to assist the Tern, which was taking in water eleven miles south east of Sovereign Harbour, (With heavy seas and a westerly gale with gusts up to 50 knots).

The Hastings ALB joined in taking station on one side of the casualty and the Eastbourne ALB on the other side.

When the ALB arrived at the scene the Tern’s cargo had shifted, the fo’c’sle was underwater and her decks and hatches were awash.

A large container ship was standing by and trying to provide a lee for the stricken vessel.

Four of the crew were taken off by helicopter.

After eight hours the Tern eventualy ran aground off Bexhill.

1994

New crew facilities completed at Sovereign Harbour.

January 1st

The Eastbourne All Weather Lifeboat was launched to assist a commercial fishing boat with engine failure.

May 14th

The 100 metre Panamanian registered cargo vessel ‘Ariake Reefer’ was on May 14 1994, in the vicinity of the Bassurelle lightbuoy in dense fog, had a rather too close encounter with the 150 metre Taiwan registered container vessel ‘Ming Fortune’. Both were ships navigating the Dover Strait, neither was meant to be quite so close to the other. Both the ‘Ariake Reefer’ and the ‘Ming Fortune’ were badly damaged and some containers were lost overboard. The enormous gash in the prow of the ‘Ariake Reefer’ suggests the ‘Ming Fortune’ came off the worse.

Lifeboats from Eastbourne, Hastings and Newhaven were launched to the incident along with a Rescue Helicopter.

The Eastbourne All Weather Lifeboat ‘The Royal Thames’ launched at 1435hrs and arrived on scene at 1611hrs. The distance from Sovereign Harbour was 23.8 miles at a bearing of 160 degrees true. The weather on scene was heavy rain and fog with a visibility of approximately half a mile.

After standing by the vessel throughout the late afternoon and evening to monitor the situation giving updates to Dover Coastguard the Eastbourne lifeboat was relieved by Newhaven Lifeboat and returned to Sovereign Harbour at 2338 hrs.

‘Ariake Reefer’

‘Ariake Reefer’

1995

Work was carried out on the main boathouse in order to house the station’s D class lifeboat. Following completion of this work, the previous ILB boathouse was removed.

1997

Silver Medal awarded to the helmsman of the D class lifeboat, lan Stringer, in recognition of the leadership and strength of purpose displayed by him when the lifeboat rescued, at great risk in very strong tidal conditions and turbulent sea, a man clinging to Eastbourne pier on 8 April 1997. The Thanks of the Institution inscribed on Vellum awarded to crew member Gary Mead and Mr Tom Hobdel, Letters of Thanks signed by the Chairman of the Institution to crew members Mark Chessell, Dawn Mead and to Auxiliary Coastguard Stuart McNabb in recognition of their meritorious actions during this service.

2000

Two inshore lifeboats were used in rescue work during the floods in Lewes and Uckfield.

     

2001

10th February

At approximately midnight on the high tide the yacht Going Concern had been driven up the beach to the high water mark. The crew and Coastguard then approached the DLA J Banfield to ask for lifeboat assistance as the crew were going to re-board to attempt to re-float her on the next days lunchtime tide, but as she was laying beam on, assistance from seaward would be needed. Consultation between Duty Officer Ops TDI/E and DLA and it was agreed to launch. The crew assembled at 1145 on the 11th and a short sea trial was undertaken after the fitting of new props. We arrived on scene at 1212; the ILB was in attendance to assist in passing a line to the casualty. At 1225 the crew aboard the casualty informed us that she was starting to lift so at 1226 our towline was passed to them via the ILB. When made fast to his bridle and winches we took up a steady strain as the water flowed the forward securing lines from the casualty to the shore fastenings were let go the bow then came to seaward. We carried on with a steady strain for a further 15 minutes re-positioning ourselves on a couple of occasions. She then slowly slid off the beach and in to deeper water. Before we pulled them much further we requested they check for ingress of water to which they reported they were taking on a small amount, but at the moment their pump was coping. We made our salvage pump ready in case they also reported they were unsure about propulsion, so I informed them that we would tow them straight into the harbour. The Lifting hoist was jacked up ready to lift them straight out of the water when they were through the lock. We towed them into the harbour and up to the lock, they were then happy to motor the short distance into the lock.
When this was completed we returned to station.

  

photo by Eddie Buckland.

2003

Silver Medal awarded to Coxswain Mark Sawyer and Bronze Medal to Mechanic Dan Guy in recognition of their courage and skill when the crew of two of the yacht Paper chase was saved on 20 October 2002.

The disabled yacht was in very shallow water at the entrance to Sovereign Harbour. It was dark, the seas were very rough and the south-easterly winds were Force 8 and waves were breaking over the lifeboat as the two people were rescued.

Mechanic Dan Guy was washed into the sea, but held onto the man he was assisting.

Coxswain Mark Sawyer received an award from the James Michael Bower Endowment Fund for this service as the only recipient of an RNLI Silver Medal for Gallantry during 2003.

The Shipwrecked Fishermen and Mariners’ Royal Benevolent Society awarded Coxswain Sawyer the Emile Robins Award for 2002/3 for this service. This award goes to the Master/Coxswain of a British vessel who incurs the greatest peril in rescuing survivors at sea.

To read the RNLI report on this callout click here

         

                         PAPERCHASE the next day                      Member of harbour crew securing boat to the beach

                    

                             RNLI press photo call                                          Mark and Dan with their medals

2003

The new station D class lifeboat 0605 Joan and Ted Wiseman 50 was placed on service on 15 August.

 

Joan and Ted Wiseman 50 D – 605,

The first of the new breed of inshore lifeboat to be issued to the coast. The boat was given to the RNLI by a Middlesex couple who wished to mark their 50th Wedding Anniversary in a special way. The boat is similar in some respects to the previous D Class boats but improved in others. The material is now polyester rather than nylon and thus more dimensionally stable. A large number of boats whose crews thought of as good boats had been measured and tight dimensions specified in the build. The old D Class boats varied in speed fro 14 to 24 knots and that was just in Eastbourne’s experience.

With the tighter dimensions, less elastic material, improved floor boarding system and a pod to house electronics, anchor, anchor rope, and fist aid kit the new boat is some 50% faster than some of the older boats.
The more rigid hull provided by the new flooring system has allowed for a more powerful engine, more equipment is now carried, including Oxygen, so the boats are heavier and more power was desired. With a new 50HP engine the boats are very responsive to helm input and rapid for transiting to a search area or casualty.

 

8th January 2007

Three Crew members of the Eastbourne Inshore Lifeboat received a certificate of appreciation from the RNLI for a dramatic rescue in choppy seas on the 18th July 2006.

 

Helmsman David Needham, Crew Members Andy Chatton and Ian Patterson were invited to the Mayor’s parlour to receive their certificates from the Mayor of Eastbourne.

The photograph of the presentation shows (from left to right) Mr Arthur Perry of Perriwinkles Seafood Stall who alerted the Coastguard, Andy Chatton, Inshore Lifeboat Crew Member,

Councilor Colin Belsey, the Mayor of Eastbourne, Dexter Jones who received an award for keeping one of the youths afloat, Ian Patterson, Inshore Lifeboat crew member, Dan Guy received the Certificate on behalf of David Needham, the Helmsman of the Inshore Lifeboat.

 

2011 September

Lifeboat volunteers at Eastbourne RNLI lifeboat station have been officially commended for the rescue of a Dutch yacht which was stranded in bad weather and rough seas.

Paul Metcalfe, Lifeboat Operations Manager at the station in the town’s Sovereign Harbour, has received an official letter of commendation from the charity’s Operations Director, Michael Vlasto, who thanked him and his crew for their actions during the rescue.

The incident happened on 8 July 2011, when the station’s all-weather lifeboat, Royal Thames, was launched at 6.55am, following reports that a Dutch-registered yacht, Enterprise, was in difficulties.  At the time it was raining heavily and, following an engine failure, the yacht was stranded in south westerly force 7 winds, the crew facing very choppy seas and a two metre swell.

The lifeboat crew reached the yacht at 7.13am and Deputy Second Coxswain, Dan Guy, was safely transferred to the yacht despite the poor conditions. A tow line was passed from the lifeboat to Dan and established on the yacht. On approaching Sovereign Harbour, Dan deployed the drogue to give the lifeboat better control over the yacht through the large swell running across the harbour entrance.

Once through the locks, the yacht was berthed on a pontoon and the lifeboat returned to station at 9.10am.

In his letter of commendation, Operations Director Michael Vlasto wrote: ‘Although I have specifically mentioned coxswain Mark Sawyer and Dan Guy, it is readily apparent that they were supported by a very professional and committed crew, whose seamanship was of the highest order.’ He continued: ‘Everyone is to be thanked on my behalf – well done, all of you!’

Full report and video clip of rescue

 

Paul Metcalfe, Eastbourne RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager, welcomed the official commendation. He said: ‘Our volunteer crew members undergo intensive training to ensure that they are ready to respond to any kind of emergency. I am immensely proud that my crew worked so hard in these conditions to bring about such a positive outcome.

‘It is gratifying to know that the selfless efforts of the volunteer lifeboat crew members have received this recognition from the RNLI’s Operations Director. I am very proud of this station and all of its volunteers.’

Lifeboat volunteers at Eastbourne RNLI lifeboat station have been officially commended for the rescue of a Dutch yacht which was stranded in bad weather and rough seas.

WAR RECORD 1939-1945
Lives rescued – 42.

Launches Medals – 22
Two Bronze awarded in 1940 service – ss Barnhill in London (rescued 22).

MEDAL RECORD
Ten medals – one Gold, four Silver and five Bronze, the last was voted in 2003.

2011 September

Lifeboat volunteers at Eastbourne RNLI lifeboat station have been officially commended for the rescue of a Dutch yacht which was stranded in bad weather and rough seas.

Paul Metcalfe, Lifeboat Operations Manager at the station in the town’s Sovereign Harbour, has received an official letter of commendation from the charity’s Operations Director, Michael Vlasto, who thanked him and his crew for their actions during the rescue.

The incident happened on 8 July 2011, when the station’s all-weather lifeboat, Royal Thames, was launched at 6.55am, following reports that a Dutch-registered yacht, Enterprise, was in difficulties.  At the time it was raining heavily and, following an engine failure, the yacht was stranded in south westerly force 7 winds, the crew facing very choppy seas and a two metre swell.

The lifeboat crew reached the yacht at 7.13am and Deputy Second Coxswain, Dan Guy, was safely transferred to the yacht despite the poor conditions. A tow line was passed from the lifeboat to Dan and established on the yacht. On approaching Sovereign Harbour, Dan deployed the drogue to give the lifeboat better control over the yacht through the large swell running across the harbour entrance.

Once through the locks, the yacht was berthed on a pontoon and the lifeboat returned to station at 9.10am.

In his letter of commendation, Operations Director Michael Vlasto wrote: ‘Although I have specifically mentioned coxswain Mark Sawyer and Dan Guy, it is readily apparent that they were supported by a very professional and committed crew, whose seamanship was of the highest order.’ He continued: ‘Everyone is to be thanked on my behalf – well done, all of you!’

Full report and video clip of rescue 

Paul Metcalfe, Eastbourne RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager, welcomed the official commendation. He said: ‘Our volunteer crew members undergo intensive training to ensure that they are ready to respond to any kind of emergency. I am immensely proud that my crew worked so hard in these conditions to bring about such a positive outcome.

‘It is gratifying to know that the selfless efforts of the volunteer lifeboat crew members have received this recognition from the RNLI’s Operations Director. I am very proud of this station and all of its volunteers.’