The crew of a small yacht visiting Eastbourne for the first time yacht misjudged the entrance channel to Sovereign Harbour at low tide and ran aground prompting the launch of Eastbourne lifeboat to assist.

The drama unfolded shortly after 5pm (15 June) as the three people aboard the 26ft yacht attempted to negotiate the entrance channel to the marina and ran aground on  shingle close to the harbour arm. Fortunately the yacht had a bilge keel (a hull shape capable of resting on the sea bed at low water) but was still being pounded by the surf and taking on water as the waves splashed into the cockpit. The crew initially called the marina for help but being unable to assist they passed the call to Dover Coastguard who in turn requested the launch of Eastbourne’s all-weather lifeboat. Being already alert to the developing situation the lifeboat was able to quickly launch and be on scene in a matter of minutes. A line was passed to the stricken vessel and skilfully pulled off the shingle into deeper water. Having checked the vessel for damage the thankful crew was able to enter harbour under their own power, escorted by the lifeboat, into the safety of the marina locks.