An abandoned boat spotted off Botany Bay yesterday (January 9) sparked a major search involving the Margate RNLI inshore and all-weather lifeboats along with the coastguard helicopter and shoreside coastguard search teams.
The alert was raised around 4pm when UK Coastguard received a report of an empty dinghy in the surf-line at Botany Bay. Margate’s inshore lifeboat along with the coastguard rescue helicopter from Lydd Airport, which was exercising in the area, were tasked to investigate. Margate’s Coastguard Rescue Team was also alerted to investigate the craft and carry out a shoreline search.
Due to a strong northerly wind and rough sea conditions close to the operational limits for the inshore lifeboat, the RNLI all-weather lifeboat was also tasked to provide support and assist in the search in quickly fading light. Both lifeboats and the helicopter carried out a detailed search of the area while coastguards on the beach found the boat which had capsized in the surf.
It was established that the boat had been in the sea for some time and appeared to have been unoccupied. The search was terminated and all rescue units returned to station.
Ian Lowe, Deputy Launching Authority, Margate Lifeboat said: “There was a real fear that people may have been in the boat when it capsized and washed ashore. The weather conditions were unpleasant for the volunteer crew and the all-weather lifeboat was tasked to provide back-up.”