RNLI and Coastguard alert after abandoned sail boat spotted drifting off Broadstairs

Margate RNLI lifeboat towing the dinghy back to Broadstairs (Photo credit Ian Lowe)

Margate RNLI’s volunteer lifeboat crew and Thanet coastguard officers have been in action following reports of an abandoned sailing dinghy off the Thanet coast.

UK Coastguard received multiple reports from members of the public around 1pm today (21 June) reporting an apparently abandoned dinghy with sails set, while others reported it had capsized and was drifting northwards in the breeze off Broadstairs.

Margate’s B class RNLI lifeboat along with the Coastguard Rescue Team were tasked to investigate, the latter sighting the capsized craft a mile east of North Foreland. The lifeboat located the dinghy which was checked for recent occupancy.

It was established that the occupants of the craft were safely ashore at Viking Bay.

The lifeboat crew were able to partly de-rig the vessel and after assessing the situation and considering the risk to navigation and the possibility of it being reported again, it was agreed it should be towed back to shore.

The lifeboat took the craft in tow and returned it to its owners at Viking Bay.

Derek Amas, Lifeboat Operations Manager, RNLI Margate said: “There was concern  that a potentially serious situation was developing following the calls to the coastguard.

“Members of the public are very much the eyes and ears of the rescue services with identifying potential emergencies at sea and we are grateful to those who called it in. If anyone sees anything untoward on the coast or at sea we urge people to dial 999 and ask for coastguard.”


  1. Were the crew insured? Anyone can buy a dinghy or day boat chuck it in the sea and get themselves in trouble, and needing to be rescued. They should be charged for the full cost of being rescued, and be sent on a sailing course! I no longer sail, but took a course at the Dover Water Sports centre, and passed Level 2 Basic Skills Royal Yachting Association in October 1991. Thats enough to get you safely sailing in shore, but I don’t know if the courses are still available, I think they were run by the KCC, so probably not!

    • RYA courses are run by sailing clubs and other organisations, so yours will have been run by the Dover centre you referenced. Absolutely nothing to do with KCC.

  2. It was over 30 years ago, and someone had to have supplied the dinghy’s, there were dozens of them if I recall. Youngster came from all over, not just Kent I believe, and 2 of them broke my collar bone! These kids were skinny runts, and they didn’t have the strength to pull a “Topper” dinghy out of the rack. So I said to them you two grab the aft end of the boat, and I will pull the other end, BUT BE CAREFUL because it will be heavy! As we pulled the boat out of the rack, they dropped their end, and the boat fell on me, breaking my collar bone! That was my sailing over for a few weeks!

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