A lifeboat crew member was hurled abuse by someone thinking they were trying to hoard fuel.
They were filling jerry cans at a petrol station during a time of frenzied panic buying.
The crew member was from Margate RNLI and lifeboats always have to be fuelled using jerry cans.
RNLI Margate Lifeboat said on its Facebook page this morning. "Our lifeboats are refuelled from jerry cans, which are transported to and from the petrol station in a trailer towed by one of our volunteer lifeboat crew members' private vehicle.
"One of our crew received verbal abuse on Friday from someone assuming they were 'stocking up'."
The group said that to avoid another such misunderstanding its members will collect fuel from now on wearing RNLI branded clothing.
The UK has been gripped by panic buying at fuel stations because a chronic shortage of lorry drivers have severely delayed deliveries.
There is otherwise enough petrol and diesel available but now because of the surge in demand several petrol stations have run out of fuel to sell.
Motorists using jerry cans to buy fuel have been under suspicion of hoarding and leaving less for others.
Kent Online has contacted Margate RNLI for further details about Friday's incident.