Photos Carole Adams
Viking Bay was bustling yesterday (August 23) for the rescheduled Water Gala.
Crowds enjoyed everything from the Teddy Bear’s Picnic at Lillyputt Mini Golf, paddleboard lessons, Seashore Safaris, Punch & Judy, King Neptune’s arrival, decorated beach huts, sandcastle competitions, RNLI, beach sports activities, sea shanties, storytelling and lots more.
The Bandstand was busy with singers, character actors, circus skills, performing arts and theatre and there was a funfair and stalls on Victoria Gardens and the Prom.
Both the all weather lifeboat Esme Anderson and the Atlantic inshore Claire and David Delves with their volunteer crew from Ramsgate RNLI also attended.
Broadstairs annual Water Gala, originally called Water Sports day, started in 1888 before becoming the Water Gala in 1930. Traditionally always held on a Wednesday it’s a great draw for locals and visitors alike.
Ramsgate RNLI has been attending since the 1970s, weather and operational duties permitting, and it’s a popular day in the crew’s calendar. With both boats moored up at the end of the harbour and a flight of steps leading down for easy access and plenty of willing crew hands to help, it’s an opportunity for members of the public to visit the all weather boat.
No charge is made to visit the boat but most people made donations with some 350 going onboard.
It wasn’t just the boats that had a presence at the event. Volunteers from the Broadstairs Lifeboat shop manned a stall on the promenade and members of the volunteer Water Safety Team were also in attendance handing out flags and stickers to the children and giving water safety advice. After a stay of three hours both boats returned to station waving to the crowds as they left.
The crew had just enough time to eat when they were paged to an 11 metre yacht with electrical failure just off Ramsgate, concerned about getting into the Harbour. The all weather boat attended and passed the stricken yacht a line before towing it into the safety of the harbour.
The annual event rounded off with music on the bandstand from Ozzie and the Uglies and a firework display.