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RNLI rescues in Grain, Sheerness, Broadstairs, Gravesend and the River Medway caught on camera as it celebrates 200th year anniversary

Daring rescues around the Kent coastline are part and parcel of signing up to be a lifeboat volunteer.

As the RNLI is set to celebrate its 200th anniversary tomorrow, we take a look at some of the missions caught on camera by their crews.

The RNLI is marking its 200th anniversary
The RNLI is marking its 200th anniversary

The RNLI sprang into action when one yacht owner found himself clinging onto the rear guard rail of his 30ft craft as it sank off the Isle of Grain on June 15, 2018.

Sheerness lifeboat The George and Ivy Swanson was launched at 11.15pm.

In the footage taken by the rescuers, the precarious situation the man found himself in can be seen, with only a small area of the yacht not submerged.

After being hauled onto the boat, he was found to be cold and slightly shocked but hadn’t suffered any other injuries and was taken back to Sheerness lifeboat station.

But the following night a distress call came from the same yacht.

The owner of the boat, this time with another man, had returned to the craft which had been secured the previous night.

Using a small dinghy to get from Gillingham, the men had managed to pump the water out and get the vessel refloated.

But they got themselves into difficulty again and when they were unable to make headway against the strong tide, they called the coastguard at 11.56pm.

They were towed to safety by crews on The George and Ivy Swanson back to Queenborough Harbour.

Footage from 2016 shows the RNLI rescue a 64-year-old man who had spent two hours in cold waters clinging to a buoy.

The yacht had got stranded in Halstow Creek in the River Medway late in the evening of May, 19.

The man had been able to get himself into a dinghy but this smaller craft had then capsized, leaving him in the cold water alone at night.

Eventually, the man’s cries for help were heard by someone in a nearby house which sparked an emergency response.

When RNLI crews from Sheerness arrived, they found another boat owner who had launched his own rescue attempt.

RNLI helmsman Mark Tucker said: “The chap got into his boat and eventually located the casualty in the water where he was clinging to the buoy.

“Having found the man in the water the good samaritan hadn’t been able to get him out and so hung onto him until we arrived on the scene.

The RNLI saves a 64-year-old man who had clung to a buoy for two hours in the dark
The RNLI saves a 64-year-old man who had clung to a buoy for two hours in the dark

“We later learned had been alerted by a phone call saying that cries for help could be heard in the creek.”

The casualty was taken to a nearby slipway where he was handed over to a waiting South East Coast Ambulance Service crew.

In July last year, the RNLI launched a major rescue operation alongside two coastguard rescue teams and a coastguard rescue helicopter.

The drama involved 40 people being trapped at Botany Bay, Broadstairs after being cut off by the tide. This was complicated after police officers received reports of a naked man calling for help in the water.

Emergency responders guided the stranded group to the safety of the clifftop via a path, allowing a search operation to begin to locate the reported person in the sea.

But after three-hours, with the initial group safe and no further reports of any missing people, the search was eventually called off and the rescue units stood down.

RNLI crews often work alongside the UK Coastguard, other emergency services and fellow lifeboat teams.

One such instance captured on camera was a joint rescue which saw lifeboat crews from Dover RNLI and Dungeness RNLI attend the scene of a man who had fallen overboard during gale-force winds.

A coastguard search and rescue helicopter had spotted the man thanks to strobe lights on his lifejacket and lifted the casualty from the water.

While the person was taken to a hospital in Ashford for treatment, the RNLI towed the yacht, which had run into problems due to a rescue line being stuck in the propeller, to Dover.

But it’s not just people that the RNLI volunteers manage to save.

In footage captured last July the RNLI Gravesend crew can be seen retrieving a pigeon while they were out on exercise on the River Thames.

After scooping the bird out of the water they took it to the safety of a nearby boat where it could dry off and recover.

John Robinson took part in the pigeon rescue and said: “The RNLI cannot be pigeon-holed as a charity which only saves human lives. We do our best to save all lives at sea and on the River Thames, whether that is human or animal life.”

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