The day started routinely enough for the crew when they began to assemble for their usual Sunday morning’s training exercise. The calm was interrupted when the crew pagers were activated by Dover Coastguard to alert them to a report that a small angling vessel was in trouble in Eastbourne Bay. The 17ft angling boat with two persons on board had suffered engine failure and the occupants were unable to cope with their situation. Without a working VHF radio the anglers were forced to telephone Dover Coastguard for assistance. Quickly on scene, Eastbourne’s all-weather lifeboat (ALB) took the casualty vessel under tow and stood off from the beach from whence it departed at Eastbourne Angling Club. The tow was transferred to the inshore lifeboat which took it ashore where it was met by a mobile unit from Dover Coastguard. Safety advice regarding the perils of putting to sea without adequate safety equipment was offered to the anglers.
With the anglers safely ashore the ALB returned to the pre-arranged rendezvous point to await the arrival of Coastguard Rescue helicopter 104. Transfer exercises between the helicopter and the lifeboat ensued.
At 13.52 the ALB was again launched at the request of Dover Coastguard, this time following reports from members of the public that red distress flares had been sighted in the vicinity of Beachy Head. The ALB conducted a thorough search of the area but nothing was found. They were eventually stood down from service at 15.15.
Those crewmembers still awake in the evening attended a dedication service with the Salvation Army at their Citadel where £374.71 was donated to RNLI funds from the outgoing collection.