Man’s life saved after Coastguard, RNLI and police four hour search of Thanet coastline

The search took place in the early hours Photo Melanie Farquhar-Polkey

Police, Coastguard and RNLI crews undertook a search of the coast from Margate through to Westgate and Birchington in the early hours of this morning (June 24) following concerns for a man in the water.

The Coastguard helicopter from Lydd, two RNLI vessels and police were involved in the four hour operation which resulted in the man’s life being saved.

The alert was sparked around 00.15am when UK Coastguard received information that an adult male had entered the sea at Margate harbour and there was concern for his welfare.

Margate RNLI’s D class inshore lifeboat was immediately tasked along with Margate and Herne Bay Coastguard Rescue Teams, Kent Police also responded. An initial search of the immediate area from both seawards and from the shore including deployment of parachute illuminating flares yielded no results and the search was stepped up and widened.

Margate’s B class lifeboat joined the operation along with the Coastguard rescue helicopter from Lydd Airport with UK Coastguard coordinating computed search patterns based on tidal and weather information along with local knowledge input from the rescue units.

Two crew from the North East spit Pilot boat also assisted after dropping a pilot in Margate.

Around two hours into the search UK Coastguard received several reports from members of the public of someone shouting for help from the water in the Westgate area and the search was focused there. Despite the cries for help also being heard by the lifeboat crews, coastguard officers and police officers ashore the source could not be identified.

The search was again widened allowing for changing environmental conditions covering the area from Minnis Bay (around four miles west of Margate) to Margate harbour and four hours after the initial alert Margate’s D class lifeboat located the casualty around half a mile off Beresford Gap, Birchington.

He was taken on board the lifeboat where casualty care was provided. The lifeboat returned to Margate and the man was handed into the care of South East Coast Ambulance Service. Coastguard officers and Kent Police were also on scene to provide assistance.

Christian Wright, Deputy Launching Authority, Margate RNLI said: “The longer the search went on the more we feared for a tragic outcome. All those involved in this operation quite simply never gave up hope of finding the man and his survival is down to the skill, commitment, training and perseverance of everyone involved, local knowledge also played an important part in the successful outcome of this incident.”

A Maritime and Coastguard Agency spokesperson said: “Margate and Herne Bay Coastguard Rescue Teams, Margate RNLI lifeboats and the Coastguard Helicopter from Lydd were sent to assist after a man was seen to enter the water at Margate Main Sands at  00:20 today (24 June).

“Margate lifeboat located and recovered the man to the lifeboat and returned him to the boathouse where he was passed into the care of paramedics.”

A Kent Police spokesperson added: “Kent Police was called by the Coastguard to The Parade in Margate just before 1am on Saturday 24 June, following concerns for a man in the water.

“The man was safely recovered and taken to a local hospital as a precaution.”


  1. I spent much of the night watching the helicopter action from my bedroom window. Great to hear the operation was successful.

  2. The R.N.L.I. are heros. They put their own lives at risk to save others, and dont get paid for it. It is a voluntary service provided by brave and unselfish men and women. Thank You.

  3. I hope this man gets the care that he so obviously needs, we are in a mental health crisis at the moment.

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