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Latest Lifeboat Shout

Thursday 21 August - launched at 7.44 am to angling boat with gearbox failure, towed casualty back to Dover Harbour. While on passage returning to Dungeness, lifeboat tasked by coastguard to report of injured jet skier.

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Dungeness RNLI Lifeboat Crew

Royal National Lifeboat Institution

Dungeness and Dover Lifeboat Stations

Seven lives saved from yacht Liquid Vortex – 3 January 2012

At 5.24am on Tuesday 3 January 2012, the Dungeness RNLI Deputy Launching Authority, was informed by Dover Coastguard that the 12-metre yacht Liquid Vortex was experiencing severe weather three nautical miles east of Dungeness point with five out of seven crew incapacitated due to seasickness. The Coastguard requested the launch of Dungeness all-weather lifeboat to assess and assist the yacht if required. The crew were paged at 5.30am.

The crew assembled at the lifeboat station and Deputy Second Coxswain Mark Richardson selected his crew for what he expected to be a challenging service. At 5.40am, RNLB Pride & Spirit (Mersey class all-weather lifeboat, 12 metres in length and powered by twin turbocharged Caterpillar 3208 engines, 315 hp each) launched on service at full speed with six crew aboard, Deputy Second Coxswain Mark Richardson in command.

Weather conditions at the launch site were south-west, severe gale force 9. Visibility was poor with squalls. This resulted in a rough sea state in the bay east of Dungeness point.

Once clear of the launch site, contact was soon made with the yacht crew. The radio operator reported that the sails were blown out and the crew were incapacitated due to seasickness. Now clear of Dungeness point, conditions were severe. The wind was south-westerly, storm force 10. A combination of wind and swell resulted in wave heights estimated at 7-9 metres. Visibility was reduced by driving spray.

At 6.15am, Dungeness lifeboat arrived at the yacht. The position now was several nautical miles further east than had been initially reported, due to the storm force wind blowing the yacht in a north-easterly direction towards Dover. Deputy Second Coxswain Richardson positioned the lifeboat at a safe distance of 50 metres from the yacht. Searchlights were used to illuminate the yacht, while the crew assessed and devised a plan to assist. An inflated liferaft was observed tethered to the stern. The foresail had blown out and was streaming from the halyard still attached to the head of the sail.

While a rescue plan was being formulated, at approximately 6.20am, an enormous wave struck the lifeboat and the yacht from astern. The yacht was briefly swamped. Mechanic Trevor Bunney observed the yacht to broach and then turn through 180 degrees. Immediately, the skipper transmitted a Mayday call. He reported that the helmsman had been smashed against the helm and may have a broken jaw and chest injury. The wheel of the yacht was twisted and it was not known if the steering gear was operational. At the same time, the lifeboat engine room bilge alarm sounded, water having entered through the engine room vents. Mechanic Bunney checked and observed a substantial amount of water in the bilges and commenced pumping without delay. Onboard the yacht, lifejackets of the two crew in the cockpit had automatically inflated and the inflated liferaft tethered astern had been washed away.

At 6.30am, Deputy Second Coxswain Richardson decided to try and get two crew members onboard the yacht. Crew members Garry Clark and Jeff Henderson prepared to transfer. Crew member Henderson had the handheld VHF radio and the first aid kit. A number of attempts were made to move closer to the yacht. In each case the severe weather forced Deputy Second Coxswain Richardson to abort his approach for fear of collision. At 6.45am, Deputy Second Coxswain Richardson's plan to transfer his crew members was abandoned in favour of establishing a tow towards Dover.

Due to injury and seasickness, the skipper was now the only person onboard the yacht who was in a fit state to work with the lifeboat crew during the rescue. Two crew were seated in the cockpit with their lifejackets inflated and their safety lines clipped on, but were severely seasick. The remaining four onboard were below decks. At 6.50am, the skipper rigged a bridle and then positioned himself on the bow of the yacht to receive the tow. It took a number of attempts in the storm force wind to approach the yacht and position the lifeboat close enough for the heaving line to be thrown across. The resolve of the crew and gritty determination eventually got the tow line passed to the yacht. By 7.15am, the tow line was secured.

With the tow made fast, the skipper returned to the cockpit. The yacht was twisting violently through 90 degrees. After 20 minutes the bridle chaffed and parted. The crew had no control of the yacht, the large seas and storm force winds were pummelling them. Realising how grave the situation was becoming, Deputy Second Coxswain Richardson decided to make another attempt to get two crewmen onboard. As before, he positioned the lifeboat astern of the yacht and slowly approached. The lifeboat bow momentarily came into contact with the transom of the yacht, so crew member Clark saw his opportunity and leapt from the bow of the lifeboat. By the time he had steadied himself in the cockpit, the distance between the two vessels had opened to a few metres, Deputy Second Coxswain Richardson using full astern power to avoid running over the yacht in the large following sea. There had not been time to transfer the second crew member. It was approximately 7.50am and getting light. The position of the yacht was now three nautical miles south-west of Dover port breakwater and the distance was closing.

With the weather deteriorating, wind gusting violent storm force 11, and the yacht closing Dover, it was agreed between Dover Coastguard, Roy Couzens Dover Lifeboat Operations Manager, and Deputy Second Coxswain Richardson to launch Dover all-weather lifeboat to assist with the planned tow into Dover. At 8.04am, RNLB City of London II (Severn class all-weather lifeboat, 17 metres in length and powered by twin Caterpillar 3412 diesel engines, 1250 hp each) launched on service with six crew onboard, Coxswain Mark Finnis in command.

Meanwhile, aboard the yacht, crew member Clark immediately assessed the two men in the cockpit and acknowledged the skipper. He went down into the saloon and found a male casualty who was responsive but in pain with a blood stained face. Next he checked the two aft cabins. In each was a female casualty; one had knocked her head, but was responsive and severely seasick. The second was severely seasick and needed reassurance. Crew member Clark checked the forward cabin and found a third female casualty who was also severely seasick. He knew this was not going to be a normal shout.

As the yacht was being driven towards the shore at Dover, time was running out to get a tow re-established. Deputy Second Coxswain Richardson again positioned the lifeboat to pass a heaving line to crew member Clark and the skipper on the bow of the yacht. The tow line was passed and reconnected. Six minutes later at 8.10am, the bridle parted for a second time. The position of the yacht was now approximately 2.5 nautical miles south-west of Dover port breakwater.

Deputy Second Coxswain Richardson repositioned the lifeboat by passing close down the port side of the yacht to reconnect the tow. Crew member Clark rigged the lifeboat's bridle through the forward deck cleats to try to prevent the bridle lifting before making it fast on the cockpit winches. He became aware of the stanchions on the deck working loose. It was impossible to stand up; all movement around the yacht was by crawling on all fours.

Having secured the tow again, crew member Clark secured himself in the cockpit. Moments later, a huge wave crashed over the yacht from astern, automatically inflating his lifejacket. His sea boots, although tucked under his waterproof trousers, filled with water. The starboard bow cleat was ripped from the deck resulting in a bridle with two lines of unequal length. Crew member Clark once again crawled to the bow to try to shorten the starboard bridle and equalise the loading. Communications with the lifeboat were extremely difficult. The yacht's main radio could transmit but not receive and the skipper's handheld radio was damaged so that it could receive but not transmit. In effect, crew member Clark had no radio communications with the lifeboat unless he was in the cockpit. At 8.22am, Dover lifeboat arrived on scene and stood by. As Deputy Second Coxswain Richardson eased off on the power, crew member Clark quickly tied a knot in desperation in the starboard bridle rope to shorten it.

As he did so, another wave picked up the yacht and it surfed ahead running over the slack tow line. With the bridle adjusted, the Deputy Second Coxswain Richardson slowly reapplied power, and within seconds it became evident that the yacht was starting to move stern first through the water. The tow rope had fouled the keel or rudder. Crew member Clark immediately shouted to the lifeboat to stop. The yacht was in a grave situation; crew member Clark had no option but to lean over the port side and cut the tow line which was visible just under the surface. The lifeboat crew recovered the shortened tow line back aboard. It was 8.35am. There was considerable doubt whether the yacht could be towed into Dover in the worsening weather. The backup plan was to get in the lee of the Kent coast off the Downs and either transfer the casualties to a lifeboat or to a helicopter. Dover Coastguard tasked Rescue Helicopter 125 to assist.

Seconds later a huge wave broke over the Dungeness lifeboat's port beam. Crew member Terrence Ashford on the port bow was washed across to the starboard side and partially overboard. The quick action of crew member Henderson grabbing his lifejacket strap prevented him going over completely, before they were able to clip on again. Once again bilge alarms sounded as water entered through the engine room vents.

It was approaching 9am. The Dungeness lifeboat crew had been at sea for 3.5 hours in appalling conditions. Fatigue was taking its toll and Deputy Second Coxswain Richardson took the decision to request Dover lifeboat to try to re-establish a tow. Deputy Second Coxswain Clapham made numerous attempts to get Dover lifeboat into position close enough for a heaving line to be thrown. Crew member Clark on the bow of the yacht was concerned there could be loss of life if they couldn't get the yacht under tow and she foundered. She was drifting quickly towards the shore. Eventually a heaving line was passed and as crew member Clark hauled the heaving line, the tow line became detached.

The skipper asked crew member Clark if he wanted the engine started, to which he agreed. Crew member Clark took the opportunity to examine the wheel to see if he could make a temporary repair. Together with the skipper, they managed to pull and bend the wheel back to a point where it could be rotated, albeit with moderate resistance.

Attempts to establish tows by both Deputy Second Coxswains were proving too difficult. By now the yacht had drifted past Dover port. As they tracked north-east, the land started to provide a lee and the local wind speed and sea state decreased. Deputy Second Coxswain Clapham instructed crew member Clark and the skipper to follow Dover lifeboat to seek better shelter off the Downs.

The yacht was still twisting heavily in the following seas, however despite the difficulties with steering the skipper was able to maintain a course following Dover lifeboat. Crew member Clark, for the first time in hours, was able to stand up. He went down into the cabin for the second time since getting onboard. He reassessed the casualties whose conditions were largely unchanged apart from the male casualty with an injured jaw and chest. He was in significant pain. Back on deck, crew member Clark requested the entonox pain relief be transferred from Dungeness lifeboat. Deputy Second Coxswain Richardson manoeuvred the lifeboat close enough for the kit to be thrown across to the yacht. Crew member Clark instructed the casualty in how to self-administer the entonox.

On deck, with the pending arrival of the helicopter, crew member Clark decided he had to try and release the blown-out foresail, which was partially wrapped around the mast. He cut the halyard and slowly the wind worked the sail loose and pulled the halyard through until it carried away in the wind.

At 9.40am, Rescue Helicopter 125 arrived on scene. The winch man was lowered but it took numerous attempts to land him on the deck, due to the strong wind and motion of the yacht. Once onboard, the winch man assessed the casualties and advised crew member Clark that he would take the four in the cabin off. Dungeness and Dover lifeboats stood by.

At 10.25am, the helicopter crew completed their casualty transfer and were departing the scene. The yacht was now just minutes away from grounding in the shallows. Dover lifeboat instructed the skipper and crew member Clark to follow them on a south-westerly heading to deeper water.

The yacht was barely making headway under her own power so crew member Clark requested Dover lifeboat to take them under tow. In the relative lee of the Kent coast a tow line was quickly passed and made fast to the bridle. Deputy Second Coxswain Clapham commenced a route to Ramsgate. Crew member Clark was suffering from the effects of cold.

As they approached Ramsgate port, the wind was storm force 10 with rain squalls, gusting to violent storm, force 11. Crew member Clark took over the steering, afforded the protection of his helmet visor. At 12pm, they entered the outer harbour, the tow was slipped and the skipper resumed helming. The skipper berthed the yacht at 12.20pm.

After a change of clothes for crew member Clark provided by the crew at Ramsgate lifeboat station and a lunch of fish and chips for all the crew, Dungeness and Dover lifeboats departed for their respective stations. Dover lifeboat returned and was fuelled and ready for service at 2.20pm. Dungeness returned to station at 4.40pm.

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20 May, 2012          DUNGENESS 12 27

Dungeness RNLI lifeboat called out to 43' catamaran, snared in fishing ropes.

At 03.53 hours on Sunday 20 May, 2012 the RNLI Mersey class lifeboat 'Pride and Spirit' was launched to assist the 43' catamaran 'EON' who was pinned down with its two propellors snared in fishing ropes, 5 miles from Dungeness. The casualty was on passage from Hayling Island to Canvey Island with two persons on board.

Once on scene, two crewmen from the RNLI lifeboat were put on board the casualty to cut away the ropes from the fouled propellors. Coxswain Stuart Adams, in charge of the RNLI lifeboat said” it was very unfortunate for the two professional crew onboard the casualty to have both the catamaran’s propellors caught up in the fishing ropes”

The RNLI lifeboat towed the casualty to Dover Harbour to have any damage assessed returning to Dungeness lifeboat station by 11.30 hours.

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Casualty 'EON' being towed to Dover Harbour at 07.18 on 20 May 2012.  Photograph by RNLI lifeboat crewman Mark Richardson.

RNLI media contacts

For more information please telephone Judith Richardson, RNLI Dungeness Lifeboat Volunteer Press Officer on 07925 576569 or 01797 320062 email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Key facts about the RNLI

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 230 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and has more than 100 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK. 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 137,000 lives.

A charity registered in England and Wales No: 209603

Websites: www.dungenesslifeboat.org.uk
www.rnli.org.uk

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Dungeness RNLI crew member
nominated for BBC award

Garry ClarkPhoto by Nigel Millard - RNLIGarry Clark, a volunteer crew member at Dungeness lifeboat station, has been nominated in the Volunteer category at the BBC 999 awards for his part in the rescue of a yacht in force 9 gales earlier this year. The ceremony will be broadcast on BBC One at 8pm on Thursday 16 August.

Presented by Lenny Henry and Kirsty Young, The BBC 999 Awards recognise the work of the UK's emergency services. This is the first time the awards have been presented and the ceremony marks the 75th anniversary of the 999 emergency number, which came into action in 1937.

The awards acknowledge the heroic acts that the officers and volunteers of the emergency services perform on a daily basis, highlighting individuals and teams whose actions have exceeded the call of duty to help save lives and ensure the public's safety.

Garry has been nominated in recognition of his exemplary bravery and determination during the rescue of seven people from the yacht Liquid Vortex on 3 January 2012. Garry played a critical role in saving seven lives during a rescue, which took place in fierce storms and involved Garry being transferred to the casualty vessel.

Garry worked closely with his fellow crew members onboard the Dungeness all-weather lifeboat and the crew of the Dover lifeboat which joined in the rescue effort.

Notes to editors

  • Photo attached shows Garry Clark, volunteer crew member on Dungeness lifeboat at BBC 999 award nominee. Credit RNLI/Nigel Millard
  • The BBC 999 Awards will be broadcast on BBC One at 8pm on Thursday 16 August.

RNLI media contacts

For more information please contact Isla Reynolds, Public Relations Officer, on 01202 663127 or 07899 076224 or by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

RNLI online: For more information on the RNLI please visit www.rnli.org.uk. News releases and other media resources, including RSS feeds, downloadable photos and video, are available at the RNLI Press Centre.

Key facts about the RNLI: The RNLI is the charity that 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 230 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and has more than 140 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK. 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 137,000 lives.

Visit the RNLI's official YouTube channel for more films and follow our rescue stories on Twitter.

A charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SC037736). Charity number CHY 2678 in the Republic of Ireland.

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Dungeness RNLI lifeboat launches to assist Motor fishing Vessel

At 02.05 hours on Wednesday 11 April, the Dungeness RNLI lifeboat "Pride and Spirit' was asked to go to the aid of MFV Night Fighter from Rye, broken down with engine problems, 1.5 miles northeast of Dungeness.

After assessment, Coxswain Stuart Adams decided the casualty should be towed back to Rye Harbour. The RNLI lifeboat returned to Dungeness RNLI lifeboat station at 06.00 hours.


RNLI media contacts

For more information please telephone Judith Richardson, RNLI Dungeness Lifeboat voluntary press officer on 07925 576569 or 01797 320062 - email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Key facts about the RNLI

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 230 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and has more than 100 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK. 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 137,000 lives.

A charity registered in England and Wales No: 209603

Websites:

www.dungenesslifeboat.org.uk
www.rnli.org.uk

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Dungeness and Dover RNLI lifeboats launched in Storm Force 11 conditions to sail training vessel in trouble

Footage taken from onboard Dover RNLI lifeboat, who were assisting Dungeness RNLI in rescuing the crew of a sail training vessel in distress on 3 January 2012. The crewman onboard the casuality is Garry Clark from Dungeness lifeboat.

Volunteer lifeboat crew members from Dungeness and Dover lifeboat stations had a dramatic start to the new year when they launched to assist the crew of a sail training boat in major difficulty in storm force conditions.

The crew were requested to launch by Dover Coastguard shortly after 5.30am today (3 January) after a distress signal from a sailing training vessel, 'Liquid Vortex'. Her crew were reporting broken steering and other difficulties in bad weather, giving their position as three miles off Dungeness Point.

Dungeness RNLI's Mersey class lifeboat, Pride and Spirit, was launched and arrived to find the training boat floundering.

Judith Richardson, volunteer press officer for Dungeness RNLI, said: 'It was pretty horrendous out there by all accounts. Our crew got up alongside 'Liquid Vortex' and our duty coxswain, Mark Richardson, made three attempts to transfer a lifeboat crew member across to them. Their aim was to attach a tow line, but the conditions were just too rough and dangerous to make the transfer. It was blowing Storm Force 11 at the time, so one can only imagine how frightened those onboard the training vessel were.'

'The crew reported that, of seven people aboard 'Liquid Vortex', only one was in a fit state to assist with the transfer – the remainder were injured or suffering severe seasickness. Our crew eventually managed to transfer a crew member across and attach a tow line, then began towing the vessel to Dover. However, because of the severity of the weather conditions, the tow line broke three times.'

Dungeness crew felt that it was too dangerous to attempt to tow into Dover harbour by themselves and requested assistance from Dover RNLI lifeboat at around 8am. Dover launched their Severn class lifeboat, City of London II, to help with the operation.

Neither lifeboat were allowed into Dover harbour via the western entrance, because Dover Port Control had closed it due to the weather. Judith explained: 'In conjunction with port control, crews decided it was too difficult to get into the eastern entrance because the sea was so rough. Instead they decided to escort the vessel round to The Downs, nearer Ramsgate.'

In the meantime, RAF Rescue helicopter 125 was dispatched to the scene. A paramedic was winched down onto 'Liquid Vortex' and airlifted four of her crew for further medical assistance. The remaining three crew aboard the vessel were towed into Ramsgate where a medical team was waiting to provide assistance.

Allen Head, Training Divisional Inspector for the RNLI in the East, said: 'The volunteer crews of both Dungeness and Dover showed no fear in launching in what were horrendous conditions to assist the crew of this vessel. Those aboard certainly had a baptism of fire, being out in such weather, but our crews did everything possible to bring them ashore safely. On a day when thousands of people were returning back to work and their daily routines, our crew were out doing what they do best – saving lives at sea. Their commitment continues to impress myself and , I feel sure, the many generous supporters who help fund the RNLI'.

Ends

Click here to read the full rescue scenario

Click here to read News Release - Silver Gallantry Medal for Dungeness RNLI lifeboat crew member

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Photograph taken by Dungeness Lifeboat crewman Jeff Henderson during the shout on 3 January 2012

RNLI media contacts

For more information please contact Tim Ash, Divisional Media Relations Manager (South East and London) on 0207 6207426 or 07785 296252, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or contact RNLI Public Relations on 01202 336789

RNLI online: For more information on the RNLI please visit www.rnli.org.uk. News releases and other media resources, including RSS feeds, downloadable photos and video, are available at the RNLI Press Centre.

Key facts about the RNLI: The RNLI is the charity that 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 230 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and has more than 140 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK. 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 137,000 lives.

Visit the RNLI's official YouTube channel for more films and follow our rescue stories on Twitter.

A charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SC037736). Charity number CHY 2678 in the Republic of Ireland.

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20.02.2012 - DUNGENESS 12 27

Silver Gallantry Medal for Dungeness RNLI lifeboat crew member

Updated on 17 May 2012 - RNLI Annual Presentation of Awards - click here for more

Author: Laura Fennimore, Public Relations Officer

Dungeness RNLI volunteer lifeboat crew member Garry Clark is to be awarded a Silver Medal for Gallantry – one of the RNLI's highest honours. This is in recognition of his exemplary bravery and determination during the rescue of seven people from the yacht Liquid Vortex on 3 January 2012. Garry played a critical role in saving seven lives during a rescue, which took place in fierce storms and involved Garry being transferred to the casualty vessel.

His fellow crew members will also be recognised for their role in the dramatic rescue. Dungeness RNLI Deputy Second Coxswain Mark Richardson and Mechanic/Deputy Second Coxswain Trevor Bunney will be awarded Thanks of the Institution inscribed on Vellum. Silver Medal Service Badges, Certificates and a Letter of Appreciation signed by the RNLI's Chief Executive will be awarded to Deputy Second Coxswain Roger Gillett and Crew Members Simon Collins, Terence Ashford and Jeff Henderson.

The Dover RNLI lifeboat crew, who were also involved in the challenging rescue, will be recognised. Coxswain Mark Finnis, Deputy Second Coxswain James Clapham, Mechanic Lee Hand, and Crew Members Michael Vaughan, Paul Abbitt, Wayne Sherwood and Ian Miller, will receive a Letter of Appreciation signed by the RNLI's Chief Executive.

Early in the morning on 3 January 2012, in force 9 severe gales, rough seas and poor visibility, the Dungeness RNLI all-weather lifeboat was requested to launch to the yacht Liquid Vortex. This vessel was struggling in extreme weather conditions three miles east of Dungeness Point, with five of its seven crew suffering from seasickness.

The volunteer crew launched the lifeboat at 5.40am. Once at sea, the conditions worsened to storm force 10 winds, with waves of around 7–9 metres high. On arrival at the scene, the crew found the casualty vessel being battered by the rough seas. While the crew assessed the situation, an enormous wave struck both vessels from behind, spinning the yacht through 180 degrees. The skipper immediately transmitted a Mayday call, reporting that the yacht's helmsman had been smashed against the helm, suffering injuries and damaging the steering. This left the skipper as the only person aboard the yacht in a fit state to work with the lifeboat crew during the rescue. The inflatable liferaft, which had been tethered to the back of the yacht, had also been swept away.

The first attempts to transfer two lifeboat crew onto the stricken yacht were unsuccessful due to the horrendous weather conditions so instead the crew tried to set up a tow. It took several attempts to position the lifeboat close enough to throw a line across to the yacht. A tow was established but, after just 20 minutes, with the yacht twisting violently, the line snapped.

With the situation becoming increasingly dangerous, Deputy Second Coxswain Mark Richardson tried again to get two crew on board. Garry managed, despite the conditions, to leap from the bow of the lifeboat onto the yacht. By this time, the weather had deteriorated further, with winds gusting to force 11, so Dover RNLI all-weather lifeboat was also requested to launch to assist with the planned tow back to Dover.

While Dover RNLI lifeboat crew were on their way, Garry was aboard the yacht – which was being tossed around in violent seas – making an assessment of the casualties. He saw there were two men in the cockpit with the skipper. In the rear cabins, he found a man who was responsive but in pain and bleeding, and three females suffering severe seasickness. After assessing the casualties, Garry worked with the skipper to re-establish a tow line. Just six minutes later, the line parted again. It was impossible to stand up. All movement around the yacht was by crawling on all fours.

Deputy Second Coxswain Richardson repositioned the lifeboat and Garry managed to secure a third tow. While re-securing the tow, the tow line snagged under the yacht, meaning Garry had no choice but to lean over, putting himself in even more danger, and cut the tow line. The lifeboat crew managed to re-establish a shorter tow and ploughed on through the rolling seas. At one point, a huge wave crashed over the lifeboat's deck, nearly sweeping one of the crew overboard. He was quickly saved by a fellow crew member grabbing a strap on his lifejacket.

By 9am, Dungeness lifeboat crew had been battling the appalling conditions for three-and-a-half hours. Both Dungeness and Dover lifeboats had attempted to set up a tow but the conditions proved too difficult. Garry then worked with the skipper to pull and bend the wheel to a point where it could be used. The yacht was twisting heavily in the seas but the skipper was able to steer the yacht behind Dover lifeboat, freeing Garry to go back and check on the yacht's crew. The casualty with an injured jaw and chest was in significant pain so Garry requested pain relief from Dungeness lifeboat, and helped administer it to the casualty.

At 9.40am, the rescue helicopter arrived and the four casualties in the cabin were winched off the yacht by 10.25am. Eventually, in a more sheltered area of the coast, Dover lifeboat managed to secure a tow line and began heading for Ramsgate harbour. Garry remained aboard the yacht and, with the wind now gusting to a violent storm force 11, assisted in steering it behind Dover lifeboat to the safety of Ramsgate. They all finally berthed at 12.20pm after an exhausting six-and-a-half hours at sea in the most appalling conditions.

Andrew Ashton, RNLI Divisional Inspector of Lifeboats, East, said:

'This was a long and gruelling service in increasingly perilous conditions. Crew member Garry Clark demonstrated the utmost courage and determination, boarding the yacht and managing multiple tasks, to ensure a safe and successful outcome, while in turbulent seas. Garry's bravery and actions epitomise the traditional values of the RNLI.

'Deputy Second Coxswain Mark Richardson and Mechanic/Deputy Second Coxswain Trevor Bunney showed highly commendable competence, professionalism, leadership and boat-handling skills. In addition, the rest of the Dungeness and Dover crew are also to be commended for playing a crucial role in the rescue, enduring horrendous sea conditions to ensure seven lives were saved that day.'

The RNLI Medals for Gallantry are presented to recipients at the charity's Annual Presentation of Awards at the Barbican in London in May of each year.

BBC South East Today news report broadcast on 21 February 2012

Notes to Editors

Summary of the awards from this rescue are as follows:

Dungeness Lifeboat

The RNLI Silver Medal for Gallantry is to be awarded to:

  • Crew Member Garry Clark

RNLI Thanks of the Institution inscribed on Vellum to be awarded to:

  • Deputy Second Coxswain Mark Richardson
  • Mechanic / Deputy Second Coxswain Trevor Bunney

RNLI Silver Medal Service Badges and Certificates and a Letter of Appreciation to be awarded to:

  • Deputy Second Coxswain Roger Gillett
  • Crew Member Simon Collins
  • Crew Member Terence Ashford
  • Crew Member Jeff Henderson

Dover Lifeboat

A collective Letter of Appreciation for:

  • Coxswain Mark Finnis
  • Deputy Second Coxswain James Clapham
  • Mechanic Lee Hand
  • Crew Member Michael Vaughan
  • Crew Member Paul Abbitt
  • Crew Member Wayne Sherwood
  • Crew Member Ian Miller

A full rescue report is attached.

RNLI spokespeople are available for interview. Please contact RNLI Public Relations on the number below to arrange an interview.

RNLI media contacts

For more information, contact RNLI Public Relations on 01202 336789 / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Amy Ross, RNLI Media Relations Manager East, on 01473 718020 or 07786 668825.

View - Dungeness Silver Medal rescue - full rescue scenario (Credit RNLI)

RNLI Public Relations: 01202 336789 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

RNLI online: For more information on the RNLI please visit www.rnli.org.uk. News releases and other media resources, including RSS feeds, downloadable photos and video, are available at the RNLI Press Centre.

Key facts about the RNLI: The RNLI is the charity that 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 230 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and has more than 150 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK. 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 139,000 lives.

Visit the RNLI's official YouTube channel for more films and follow our rescue stories on Twitter.

A charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SC037736). Charity number CHY 2678 in the Republic of Ireland.

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Dungeness RNLI lifeboat responds to a collision in the English Channel

On Saturday 24 March at 10.30 hours the Dungeness RNLI lifeboat "Pride and Spirit' was launched to a collision six miles south of Dungeness Point between two vessels, the tanker Gas Arctic and the cargo vessel Spring Bok, with visability down to half a mile.

Navy Patrol Vessel HMS Tyne, which was nearby was also asked to assist. With no injuries reported, the RNLI lifeboat and the Navy Patrol Vessel were tasked to standby, assess the damage and take photographs.

After assessment the two casualties were capable to proceed to their ports and the RNLI lifeboat returned to station at 13.30 hours.

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Damage to Gas Artic, photo taken from the boarding boat of HMS Tyne

RNLI media contacts

For more information please telephone Judith Richardson, RNLI Dungeness Lifeboat voluntary press officer on 07925 576569 or 01797 320062 - email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Key facts about the RNLI

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 230 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and has more than 100 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK. 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 137,000 lives.

A charity registered in England and Wales No: 209603

Websites:

www.dungenesslifeboat.org.uk
www.rnli.org.uk

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Dungeness RNLI lifeboat responds to missing windsurfer

Dungeness RNLI lifeboat was launched on Monday 9 April, 2012 at 18.27 hours to a windsurfer missing off Camber. By the time the lifeboat arrived on scene the windsurfer was safely ashore, the RNLI lifeboat stood down.


RNLI media contacts

For more information please telephone Judith Richardson, RNLI Dungeness Lifeboat voluntary press officer on 07925 576569 or 01797 320062 - email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Key facts about the RNLI

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 230 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and has more than 100 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK. 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 137,000 lives.

A charity registered in England and Wales No: 209603

Websites:

www.dungenesslifeboat.org.uk
www.rnli.org.uk

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Dungeness RNLI lifeboat tasked to assist
26' yacht with sail problems and engine failure

On Tuesday 31 July 2012 at 2.48pm, the Dungeness RNLI Mersey class lifeboat 'Pride and Spirit was tasked to assist the 26ft Westerley Centaur yacht 'Blix' with two persons onboard.

The yacht was on passage from Brighton to Gillingham Marina and was experiencing sail problems and engine failure, 2.5 miles east of Dungeness.

Once on scene, Coxswain Stuart Adam, in charge of the RNLI lifeboat, put one of his crewmembers onboard the casualty to assess the situation. It was decided to tow the stricken vessel to Dover Harbour.

Dungeness RNLI lifeboat mechanic and deputy second coxswain Trevor Bunney said: 'The two persons onboard the casualty were very grateful for our assistance, it was a very unfortunate situation with their engine overheating and their sail rig failing.'

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Photo taken by Dungeness lifeboat crew member Garry Clark

RNLI media contacts

  • Judith Richardson – Dungeness RNLI Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer
    Tel: Home: 01797 320062 Mob: 07925576569
  • Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Website: www.dungenesslifeboat.org.uk
  • Tim Ash, RNLI Public Relations Manager (London/East/South East)
    0207 6207426 / 07785 296252 / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Philly Byrde, RNLI Press Officer (London/East/South East)
    0207 6207425 / 07886 668825 / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • For enquiries outside normal business hours, contact the RNLI duty press officer on 01202 336789

RNLI online: For more information on the RNLI please visit www.rnli.org.uk. News releases and other media resources, including RSS feeds, downloadable photos and video, are available at the RNLI Press Centre.

Key facts about the RNLI: The RNLI is the charity that 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 230 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and has more than 140 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK. 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 137,000 lives.

Visit the RNLI's official YouTube channel for more films and follow our rescue stories on Twitter.

A charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SC037736). Charity number CHY 2678 in the Republic of Ireland.

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Dungeness RNLI lifeboat assists local angling boat with engine failure

On Wednesday 4 July 2012 at 14.26 hours, the Dungeness RNLI Mersey class lifeboat 'Pride and Spirit' was requested to assist the local angling boat "Three Sisters' who has encountered engine problems near the Bullock Bank, 10 miles south of Dungeness. After assessing the situation, Coxswain Stuart Adams in charge of the RNLI lifeboat decided to tow the casualty back to its berth on the beach at Dungeness.

Above are some photos taken during the shout on 4 July 2012 by Dungeness RNLI lifeboat crewman Mark Richardson and photographer Trevor Boston, click on the thumbnails for the larger image.

RNLI media contacts

For more information please telephone Judith Richardson, RNLI Dungeness Lifeboat voluntary press officer on 07925 576569 or 01797 320062 - email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Key facts about the RNLI

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 230 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and has more than 100 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK. 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 137,000 lives.

A charity registered in England and Wales No: 209603

Visit the RNLI's official YouTube channel for more films and follow our rescue stories on Twitter.

Websites:

www.dungenesslifeboat.org.uk
www.rnli.org.uk

Dungeness RNLI volunteer lifeboat crew member Garry Clark was awarded a Silver Medal for Gallantry -- one of the RNLI's highest honours -- on May 17 2012. This was in recognition of his exemplary bravery and determination during the rescue of seven people from the yacht Liquid Vortex on 3 January 2012.

See the television news reports
BBC News   -   itv Meridian News

Dungeness RNLI crew - liquid vortex 2012

The seven crew that went to the aid of the training yacht 'Liquid Vortex' on 3 January, 2012'
who are to receive RNLI awards.
From left to right: Roger Gillett, Simon Collins, Garry Clark, Mark Richardson,
Trevor Bunney, Terry Ashford and Jeff Henderson.
Photograph taken by Judith Richardson, Dungeness lifeboat press officer


Dungeness Lifeboat Station in Kent guards the Channel from Folkestone to Rye Bay and today operates a Mersey class 'fast' carriage lifeboat Pride and Spirit which came to Dungeness in 1992, it was a generous gift from Eric and Jean Cass. Shore helpers are required to launch and recover the lifeboat, the station also had the country's last lady launchers.

In 1940 the Dungeness Lifeboat Charles Cooper Henderson was also one of 19 lifeboats that took part in the evacuation of forces from Dunkirk.

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03 June 2012 - DUNGENESS 12 27

Dungeness RNLI lifeboat launched to search for strobe lights reported in the English Channel.

On Saturday 2 June 2012 at 23.10 hours, the Dungeness RNLI Mersey class lifeboat "Pride and Spirit' was requested to launch as strobe lights had been reported, 7 miles E.S.E. of Dungeness. Duty Coxswain Trevor Bunney said "after an extensive search of the area, nothing was sighted so we returned to station"

RNLI media contacts

For more information please telephone Judith Richardson, RNLI Dungeness Lifeboat voluntary press officer on 07925 576569 or 01797 320062 - email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Key facts about the RNLI

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 230 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and has more than 100 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK. 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 137,000 lives.

A charity registered in England and Wales No: 209603

Visit the RNLI's official YouTube channel for more films and follow our rescue stories on Twitter.

Websites:

www.dungenesslifeboat.org.uk
www.rnli.org.uk

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Dungeness RNLI lifeboat launches to access and assist lone yachtsman.

On Thursday 14 June at 19.04 hours at the advice of Dover Coastguard, the Mersey class lifeboat "Pride and Spirit' launched to assess and assist a lone yachtsman on his 30' yacht with engine failure, struggling to make headway against the weather, 5 miles northeast of Dungeness.

Coxswain Stuart Adams said "we put one crew member on board to assist the gentleman. Although he was a professional sailor, he was unfortunately suffering from fatigue and was very appreciative of the assistance we gave him. After taking the casualty in tow we proceeded to Dover"

Casualty TrintellaPhotograph taken from the lifeboat

RNLI media contacts

For more information please telephone Judith Richardson, RNLI Dungeness Lifeboat voluntary press officer on 07925 576569 or 01797 320062 - email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Key facts about the RNLI

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 230 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and has more than 100 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK. 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 137,000 lives.

A charity registered in England and Wales No: 209603

Visit the RNLI's official YouTube channel for more films and follow our rescue stories on Twitter.

Websites:

www.dungenesslifeboat.org.uk
www.rnli.org.uk

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Dungeness RNLI lifeboat tasked to small cabin cruiser taking in water

At 12.44 hours on Tuesday 10 July 2012, the RNLI lifeboat was tasked to the 20' clinker built cabin cruiser 'Kestrel" on passage from Dover to Rye with one person on board, I mile N.N.E. of Dungeness that was taking in water.

Once along side the stricken vessel, two RNLI crewmembers and a salvage pump from the lifeboat were put aboard and the passenger and his belongings were transferred to the RNLI lifeboat for safety. Coxswain Stuart Adams said "The casualty was up to his knees in water but my crew managed to save the vessel using the pump to keep up with the intake of water. Planks had sprung away from the bow stem and our only option was to beach the vessel opposite the boathouse"

Above are some photos taken during the shout on 10 July 2012 by Dungeness RNLI lifeboat crewman Mark Richardson, click on the thumbnails for the larger image.

RNLI media contacts

  • Judith Richardson – Dungeness RNLI Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer
    Tel: Home: 01797 320062 Mob: 07925576569
  • Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Website: www.dungenesslifeboat.org.uk
  • Tim Ash, RNLI Public Relations Manager (London/East/South East)
    0207 6207426 / 07785 296252 / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Philly Byrde, RNLI Press Officer (London/East/South East)
    0207 6207425 / 07886 668825 / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • For enquiries outside normal business hours, contact the RNLI duty press officer on 01202 336789

RNLI online: For more information on the RNLI please visit www.rnli.org.uk. News releases and other media resources, including RSS feeds, downloadable photos and video, are available at the RNLI Press Centre.

Key facts about the RNLI: The RNLI is the charity that 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 230 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and has more than 140 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK. 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 137,000 lives.

Visit the RNLI's official YouTube channel for more films and follow our rescue stories on Twitter.

A charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SC037736). Charity number CHY 2678 in the Republic of Ireland.

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Dungeness RNLI lifeboat responds to catamaran struggling in adverse weather conditions off Dungeness

On Wednesday 11 July at 15.42 hours, the relief Dungeness lifeboat 12-001 was tasked to help the 14m catamaran 'Vanishing Point' 4 miles south southwest from the Dungeness Point with two persons on board. The casualty was on passage to Ramsgate and was experiencing adverse weather conditions off Dungeness. The casualty was escorted to a safe haven in Dover Harbour. Dungeness RNLI Lifeboat Coxswain Stuart Adams said "it was the right thing to call the lifeboat, we are here to respond to any situation"

vanishing point and lifeboat 12-001Vanishing Point and lifeboat 12-001 - photograph by Noel Packer

RNLI media contacts

  • Judith Richardson – Dungeness RNLI Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer
    Tel: Home: 01797 320062 Mob: 07925576569
  • Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Website: www.dungenesslifeboat.org.uk
  • Tim Ash, RNLI Public Relations Manager (London/East/South East)
    0207 6207426 / 07785 296252 / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Philly Byrde, RNLI Press Officer (London/East/South East)
    0207 6207425 / 07886 668825 / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • For enquiries outside normal business hours, contact the RNLI duty press officer on 01202 336789

RNLI online: For more information on the RNLI please visit www.rnli.org.uk. News releases and other media resources, including RSS feeds, downloadable photos and video, are available at the RNLI Press Centre.

Key facts about the RNLI: The RNLI is the charity that 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 230 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and has more than 140 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK. 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 137,000 lives.

Visit the RNLI's official YouTube channel for more films and follow our rescue stories on Twitter.

A charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SC037736). Charity number CHY 2678 in the Republic of Ireland.

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Dungeness RNLI crew member
honoured with BBC award

Garry ClarkPhoto by Nigel Millard - RNLIGarry Clark, a volunteer crew member at Dungeness lifeboat station, has been recognised at the BBC 999 awards for his part in the rescue of a yacht in force 9 gales earlier this year.

At the ceremony, broadcast last night (Thursday 16 August) on BBC One, Garry was presented with the award for his exemplary bravery and determination during the rescue of seven people from the yacht Liquid Vortex on 3 January 2012.

Garry played a critical role in saving seven lives during a rescue, which took place in fierce storms and involved Garry being transferred to the yacht in the rough seas. Garry worked closely with his fellow crew members onboard the Dungeness all-weather lifeboat and the crew of the Dover lifeboat which joined in the rescue effort.

Garry said: 'It was a real surprise to even be nominated for the award, so to win it was amazing. I'd like to accept the award on behalf of the whole of Dungeness lifeboat crew – saving lives at sea is a team effort and this rescue in particular called for everyone on the lifeboat, at the station and on Dover RNLI lifeboat to work together.'

Presented by Lenny Henry and Kirsty Young, The BBC 999 Awards recognise the work of the UK's emergency services. This is the first time the awards have been presented and the ceremony marks the 75th anniversary of the 999 emergency number, which came into action in 1937.

The awards acknowledge the heroic acts that the officers and volunteers of the emergency services perform on a daily basis, highlighting individuals and teams whose actions have exceeded the call of duty to help save lives and ensure the public's safety.

Notes to editors

  • Photo attached shows Garry Clark, volunteer crew member on Dungeness lifeboat at BBC 999 award nominee. Credit RNLI/Nigel Millard

RNLI media contacts

For more information please contact Isla Reynolds, Public Relations Officer, on 01202 663127 or 07899 076224 or by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

RNLI online: For more information on the RNLI please visit www.rnli.org.uk. News releases and other media resources, including RSS feeds, downloadable photos and video, are available at the RNLI Press Centre.

Key facts about the RNLI: The RNLI is the charity that 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 230 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and has more than 140 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK. 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 137,000 lives.

Visit the RNLI's official YouTube channel for more films and follow our rescue stories on Twitter.

A charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SC037736). Charity number CHY 2678 in the Republic of Ireland.

Below are some photos including some taken during the filming of the awards, the photos were taken on mobile phones so unfortunately are not very good quality.

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Details about the BBC One's 999 Awards on the BBC website posted 24 May 2012

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