The RNLI Newhaven was commissioned by HM Coastguard on Monday June 28 at 13:28. The Severn-class lifeboat “David and Elizabeth Acland” and its crew of volunteers were tasked with searching for a possible missing victim after a kayak was found stranded on the beach at Seaford Bay.
The Newhaven Lifeboat was joined by the RNLI Eastbourne, as well as Lydd’s Search and Rescue Helicopter 163, both also loaded by HM Coastguard.
Lewis Arnold, Newhaven Coxswain, said: “We launched in a calm sea state and slightly to the southwest, but the visibility was very poor due to heavy fog and hot sunny conditions.”
The beached kayak was showing signs of recent occupation. It has been fitted with various kit components, including a solar panel.
The kayak was reported to HM Coastguard after it was seen stranded and unattended on Seaford Beach in front of, but unrelated to, Newhaven and Seaford Sailing Club.
HM Coastguard commissioned Newhaven Lifeboat to conduct extensive research and provided models for research to be undertaken in the area.
The lifeboats searched three miles offshore and spanned four miles of coastline to determine if anyone had separated from the kayak and lost at sea.
While the research was ongoing, photographs posted on social media generated a Youtube video of the ship’s launch the day before. After nearly five hours of searching, the Coast Guard learned that the owner of the kayak had lost track of the boat and returned home safe and sound. The lifeboats were stopped.
Lewis Arnold, Newhaven Coxswain, said: “We know accidents do happen and kayaks, paddleboards or kitesurf kits can be taken out to sea. We are happy to hear that the owner is safe. We always prefer to launch out on a potential victim rather than react when it is too late.
Lewis Arnold, Newhaven Coxswain, said: “You can order free tags for your vessel from the Maritime and Coastguard Agency website. Taking two minutes to order them and add your phone number and name to your kit means we can quickly verify if you are home, safe and healthy.
The Newhaven lifeboat was washed and ready to return to service at 5.26 p.m.
Notes to Editors
Founded in 1803, the Newhaven Lifeboat Station covers Beachy Head in Brighton. It is a modern afloat station which operates an all-season Severn-class lifeboat. The crews received 19 medals for bravery.
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For more information, please phone Roz Ashton, RNLI Lifeboat Volunteer Press Officer on 07900 887423 or [email protected] or Paul Dunt, Regional Media Officer on 07785 296252 Paul_Dunt @ rnli. org.uk or contact the RNLI press office on 01202 336789.
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RNLI key figures
The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a round-the-clock search and rescue service around the coasts of the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland. The RNLI operates over 238 lifeguard stations in the UK and Ireland and, in a typical year, over 240 lifeguard units on beaches in the UK and the Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent from the Coast Guard and the government and depends on voluntary donations and bequests to maintain its rescue service. Since the founding of the RNLI in 1824, its crews and rescuers have saved more than 142,700 lives.
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Contact the RNLI – public inquiries
Members of the public can contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or by email.