A combination of sunshine and a fresh offshore breeze resulted in eight call-outs in one day for Margate RNLI’s volunteer lifeboat crew yesterday (July 24).
Around 10am UK Coastguard received a report of a kayak in difficulties, some distance offshore between Kingsgate Bay and Joss Bay. Margate’s B class, Atlantic 85 lifeboat was tasked and once on scene established that the casualty vessel was returning safely to shore. The lifeboat returned to station.
Around two hours later, the D class inshore lifeboat investigated a report of two jet-skis attempting to tow another jet-ski. The vessels were located around a mile off the boathouse and as they were making good progress the lifeboat escorted them back to the beach at Margate.
Around 2pm UK Coastguard took a call reporting a person clinging to a surfboard off the boathouse. The D class lifeboat launched in blustery conditions and was guided to the object by coastguards who were in contact with the first informant and lifeboat personnel at the boathouse. An inflatable toy, believed to have come from the main sands was recovered off Foreness Point. The lifeboat recovered two more inflatable toys also blowing offshore.
Next, at around 3.30pm a green inflatable was reported drifting seawards off Walpole Bay, the occupant calling for help. The D class lifeboat located a jet-ski at the position, the occupant confirming another jet-ski had picked up the inflatable and returned it to shore.
While returning to station the lifeboat was immediately re-tasked after UK Coastguard took a direct call from an inflatable with an adult and two children on board drifting seawards from Botany Bay. The craft was quickly located, the three occupants taken aboard the lifeboat and returned to Botany Bay along with a RNLI lifeguard who had also responded.
Bot on the return to station the lifeboat was again diverted when two kayakers were observed from the boathouse to be in difficulties a half mile off Westbrook Bay. The casualties were in the meantime recovered by a jet-ski who landed them back ashore. The lifeboat returned to station.
A call for the B class concerning multiple inflatables off St Mildred’s Bay was cancelled around 6pm when the situation was resolved and call number eight came around 7pm when the B class lifeboat provided safety cover for shoreside agencies dealing with a separate incident also at St Mildred’s Bay.
Christian Wright, Deputy Launching Authority, Margate RNLI said: “It has been a typical day where people take advantage of the fine weather but underestimate how an offshore wind can quickly blow small craft including inflatables seawards. Such reports require an immediate response as anyone on the craft will soon be lost from view from the shore. We strongly recommend that visitors keep to lifeguarded beaches and do not use inflatable dinghies or toys at sea.”