Image: Royal Sovereign under tow entering harbour with ILB in attendance

Eastbourne lifeboats were requested to launch three times on Saturday, first to assist a large commercial fishing vessel and later to a group in a small fishing boat who had got into difficulties.

Eastbourne’s largest commercial fishing vessel requested assistance when it lost power during machinery trials just outside Sovereign Harbour on Saturday morning (21 Feb). In no immediate danger and under tow from another member of the fishing fleet, Eastbourne’s inshore lifeboat (ILB) was requested to launch to assist with the transfer of personnel between the vessels and provide a brake for the difficult manoeuvre of entering the marina locks. Once through the locks the ILB assisted the vessel to dock and then returned to station.

Later in the afternoon the ILB was again requested to launch in response to an urgent call for help from a group in a small fishing boat. Information regarding the location of the casualties and their situation was confused and despite the volunteer ILB crew assembling and launching within a few minutes nothing was found. As a result of the negative first sweep along the coastline, Eastbourne’s all-weather lifeboat (ALB) was requested to join the search. Shortly after the ALB arrived on scene the casualties were observed on the beach with an ambulance crew in attendance apparently cold and frightened but otherwise unharmed. Both boats were then stood down.