Walmer lifeboat volunteers left their celebrations to respond to two calls on Christmas Day.

The all year service commitment continued on Christmas Day with Walmer volunteers answering two calls, both involving the station’s Atlantic 85 Donald McLauchlan.

Empty boat drifting in St Margaret’s Bay

The first launch, at 10.13am was after numerous 999 calls to UK Coastguard about an empty Rigid Hulled Inflatable Boat (RHIB) drifting in St Margaret’s Bay, which was eventually located just outside the eastern entrance of Dover Harbour. It was taken under tow into the harbour.

The lifeboat returned to station at 11.56am in winds of 25 knots which necessitated a net recovery. 

A ‘net recovery’ is used in poor sea conditions and involves the helm steering the boat into the trailer on the back of a wave. The lifeboat is then captured by a collapsing net, a recovery which requires skill and teamwork between both the helm and the tractor driver. Photo: RNLI/Christopher Winslade

The second incident was in response to a 1.34pm paging to a report of a person in the water off Sandown Castle.

Dead sheep

The lifeboat was on-scene within three minutes but the casualty turned out to be a drifting dead sheep.

It was agreed with the Coastguard to let it wash ashore on the wind and tide to be dealt with by the appropriate authorities later.

Walmer’s Operations Manager Denis Brophy said, ‘Two shouts on Christmas Day is a first in my lifeboat career and I think a first for the station.’ He asked that his thanks be passed on to the families and friends of crew who responded. The station’s Area Lifesaving Manager Allen Head also added his thanks to the team and their families, commenting that they had shown the ‘very best of selflessness’ in their commitment.

Once again, wind and sea conditions made for a difficult recovery into the net.

Walmer’s Operations Manager Denis Brophy said, ‘Two shouts on Christmas Day is a first in my lifeboat career and I think a first for the station.’ He asked that his thanks be passed on to the families and friends of crew who responded. The station’s Area Lifesaving Manager Allen Head also added his thanks to the team and their families, commenting that they had shown the ‘very best of selflessness’ in their commitment.

By Ed

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