Two Volunteer lifeboat crews respond to ‘Mayday’ Emergency

Lifeboats News Release

Newhaven and Eastbourne lifeboats responded yesterday afternoon to an emergency ‘Mayday’ distress call from a twin engine motor cruiser when a suspected fire was discovered on board.

The Eastbourne based cruiser was motoring off Cuckmere Haven when the skipper became aware of what appeared to be smoke coming from the engine compartment of his vessel. Mindful of a recent incident off Eastbourne when a similar vessel caught fire and sunk, the skipper shut down his engines and put out a Mayday distress call. The rescue co-ordination centre at Dover Coastguard took control of the situation and requested the immediate launch of Newhaven RNLI’s Seven class lifeboat which was soon on scene. A lifeboat crewman was put aboard the stricken vessel and was able to establish that there was no fire risk but that one engine had become severely overheated and was letting off thick clouds of steam.


Following discussions between Eastbourne and Newhaven lifeboats and Dover Coastguard it was decided that it was safe for the cruiser to make its own way back to Eastbourne using its remaining engine. Newhaven lifeboat escorted the cruiser to Beachy Head where Eastbourne lifeboat took over the precautionary escort back to Sovereign Harbour.             

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The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates over 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.

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