Ramsgate Lifeboat
In an emergency, dial 999 and ask for the Coastguard
This is the official web site for the RNLI Ramsgate Lifeboat Station.

The RNLI exists to save lives at sea and is wholly supported by voluntary contributions.

We hope that you will enjoy your visit.

The RNLI's lifeguards can't be everywhere this summer. If you're heading to the coast, #BeBeachSafe: check the weather and tides, keep an eye on your family and don't use inflatables. In an emergency call 999 for the Coastguard. Find safety advice at www.bit.ly/BeachSafety_RNLI_

Ramsgate Tides

Broadstairs Tides

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Latest News

2nd June 2020

Rollout of the normal RNLI seasonal lifeguard service was paused at the end of March due to the measures put in place by the UK Government to control the spread of Coronavirus. In anticipation of changes to the lockdown restrictions allowing the public to visit beaches around the UK and Channel Islands, the RNLI had developed plans to resume a lifeguard service where possible. Lifeguards started patrolling on the first of the south east beaches this weekend (30/31 May)

Our service needs to be consistent with government guidance but the plan is for the service to build in time so that lifeguard patrols reach more than 30% of beaches by peak season. Beaches will be chosen in discussion with local authorities and landowners and will be based on risk and popularity. The RNLI will also look to achieve a geographical spread while making sure the service provided is flexible and sustainable enough to respond to what may be an ever-changing environment.

RNLI Chief Executive, Mark Dowie, said:

‘The RNLI is incredibly proud of its highly skilled lifeguards who work alongside the charity’s volunteer lifeboat crews, HM Coastguard and other emergency services. RNLI lifeguards are professional lifesavers and are essential as people head to our coastlines and enjoy our beautiful beaches.

‘The current situation means that the operational logistics and training behind setting up a lifeguard service – normally in full swing at the moment – had to stop. Re-establishing this infrastructure and distributing equipment to beaches takes time. We must also make sure that conditions are safe for our lifeguards to provide an effective service – our priority remains the safety of our people and the public.

‘Despite these challenges, we’re hoping to put lifeguard patrols on more than 70 beaches across the UK and Channel Islands.

‘We are planning for a service that we can adapt to changes in Government guidelines and restrictions. We don’t know what social distancing restrictions will be in place throughout the summer, or whether we’ll have periods where restrictions are relaxed and then reintroduced. We’re also looking at how we provide our lifeguard service – we may have a more agile service that can adapt to changing circumstances – so it may look a little different to previous years. And we’re working with local councils, landowners and partners to make sure the environment lifeguards return to is safe and appropriate precautions are in place.

‘The reduced lifeguard service will continue to be supported by our lifeboat stations around the coast. Our lifeboat volunteers have been on call 24/7 to help those in trouble at sea throughout the coronavirus outbreak – and will continue to be so this summer. We will also be giving water safety advice throughout the summer. During the coronavirus outbreak we have seen great examples of people coming together, so our focus is to work with the public to succeed in ensuring the coast is a safe place to visit as restrictions are gradually lifted.’

The RNLI is urging everyone to follow current Government instructions until current restrictions are eased further. If you are able to visit the coast for your daily exercise, while adhering to Government advice, we urge you to remember the following RNLI safety advice:

*Take care near cliffs - know your route and your limitations *Check the weather forecast and tide times *If you fall into the water unexpectedly, FLOAT TO LIVE. Fight your instinct to thrash around, lean back, extend your arms and legs, and float *In any coastal emergency dial 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard
27th May 2020

We’re working as quickly as possible to roll out our lifeguard service, starting with key beaches in England this weekend. But our Chief Executive, Mark Dowie, has written this open letter as we ask for help to manage an impossible situation.

Lifeguards are due to start covering Viking Bay Broadstairs from May 30, dependent on the arrival of personal protective equipment, with Margate following on June 20. There is currently no plans to cover Ramsgate Beach.
26th May 2020

This weekend Ramsgate would have been celebrating the 80th. anniversary of the Dunkirk Evacuation with a number of the ‘Little Ships’ that took part being moored in the harbour prior to leaving for Dunkirk.

Although some 19 RNLI lifeboats took part in the Dunkirk evacuation only 2, those of Margate and Ramsgate, went with their own crews following a request early on 30th. May 1940 from the local senior naval officers. After provisioning, the Ramsgate lifeboat ‘Prudential’ under the command of Coxswain Howard Knight left at 2.30pm and following a 50 mile mine-swept route to the beaches of Dunkirk arriving at 8pm.

After some 40 hours at sea, 30 under enemy fire during which they rescued 2,800 allied soldiers, the exhausted crew arrived back in Ramsgate at 6.50pm on 1st. June. Subsequently Coxswains Howard Knight and Edward Parker of Margate were each awarded the Distinguished Service Medal and all crew members were presented with Certificates on Vellum by the RNLI.

The Ramsgate crew pictured (courtesy of Ramsgate RNLI) are from left, standing, Edward Cooper, Ernest Attwood, Alfred Liddle, John Hawkes, Thomas Goldfinch and, seated, Charles Knight, Alfred Moody, Howard Knight, Thomas Read.

Full information with Howard Knight’s personal recollections can be found in the Ramsgate Lifeboat Station history book available at https://shop.rnli.org

Author John Ray, Station Archivist
29th April 2020
1884: Design of the RNLI flag
In 1884, Leonora Preston designed the RNLI flag after her brother was rescued by Ramsgate lifeboat volunteers.

Adorning the side of every lifeboat and flying at every lifeboat station, the RNLI flag has been the symbol of saving lives at sea for over a century.

The design of the flag, quite fittingly, is linked with an RNLI rescue. In 1882, Ramsgate lifeboat Bradford went to the rescue of a vessel that was ashore on the Goodwin Sands.

The crew rescued nine people from the wreckage, one of whom was Robert A.B Preston. After the rescue, Robert took a great and lifelong interest in lifeboats and the work of the RNLI, donating a lifeboat to the Institution and going on to the Committee of Management.

The first RNLI flag, designed by Leonora Preston in 1884, bearing the Tudor crown worn by King George Vl

In 1884, 2 years after the rescue, Robert’s sister, Miss Leonora Preston, designed a flag for the RNLI.

She used the St George’s cross as the basis for the flag, adding a dark blue bordering and red RNLI lettering in each of the four white cantons.

Finally, in the centre of the flag, she placed a Tudor crown and a foul anchor, signifying the charity’s dedication to the sea and its Royal Charter.

In 1908, the RNLI formally adopted the flag and flew it proudly from all lifeboat stations.

New queen, new flag

The RNLI flag from 1953 to present day featuring the St Edward’s crown worn by Queen Elizabeth ll

In 1953, after the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, the RNLI changed the crown in the centre of the flag from the Tudor style, as worn by King George VI, to the St Edward’s crown worn by the newly appointed monarch.
24th April 2020

The RNLI’s lifeboats both inshore and all weather, are by their nature sturdy and built to last so once they have completed their service at our Lifeboat stations that will not be the end of their life.

Tracking down where they are now can be a difficult job but luckily Ramsgate RNLI station has a budding detective in the shape of Sarah Hewes, our Fundraising Chairman and she has been on the case tracing Ramsgate’s past lifeboats.

The story of Inshore Lifeboat Atlantic 75 B Class, B-765, started when RNLI supporter Bob Turnbull left a legacy in his will. The brand new boat was delivered to Ramsgate in 2000 and as is tradition a naming ceremony was held on 9 September at 3pm in the presence of Mrs Jane Turnbull, Bob’s widow, and Sir John James KCBO, the Deputy Chairman of the RNLI.

Sir John delivered it into the care of Ramsgate RNLI, which was accepted on Ramsgate’s behalf by Captain Geoffrey Tully who was the Hon. Sec. of Ramsgate RNLI at the time.

The Bob Turnbull B-765 was active at Ramsgate from 2000 until 2014 when it was replaced by an updated boat, the Claire and David Delves Atlantic 85 which is being used by our volunteer crew at this present time.

At the end of its career in Ramsgate Inshore Lifeboat Bob Turnbull was returned to the RNLI’s headquarters in Poole, in Dorset in preparation to be sold but not before her name plates were removed and kept at the Ramsgate RNLI station in memory of her service.

She was bought by Botes Salvavidas for Valparaiso which is an Emergency Rescue Service based in Valparaiso in Chile South America, run similarly to our own RNLI relying on legacies and donations from the public. And so began the second part of her life saving career.

B-765 was shipped to Chile in the company of a West Mersea Lifeboat, a B-761 called Dignity.  On arrival both boats were overhauled with their engines replaced and all identifying marks removed, or so they thought. By mistake the RNLI logo was left on the hull of Bill Turnbull so she still remains identifiable as can be seen in this image if you look carefully.

In the foreground is Bill Turnbull, look to the front of the boat and you will see the RNLI logo.

The story doesn’t end there!

A couple of years ago the Manager of Broadstairs RNLI Kiosk Jean Hefford happened to be on holiday in Chile. Sarah had asked her to keep an eye out for the boats and it happened that Jean was having a meal in a restaurant above the station so managed to take some photos. On her return home she sent the Captain of the station Louis Cortez-Bosch keyrings and postcards of Bob Turnbull as a thank you as it was he who kindly sent Sarah the photographs of the lifeboats. The lifeboats are now renamed as BS-R11 for Bill Turnbull and BS-R10 for Dignity.

B5-R11 is now part of a larger fleet, joining an all weather Mersea previously from Scarborough RNLI as well as the other Atlantic B5-R10 plus other non RNLI ribs. She maybe a distance from home but it is lovely to see her continuing her work of saving lives at sea.
16th March 2020
Lifejacket Clinic At Royal Temple Yacht Club, Ramsgate Proves A Resounding Success!
On Sunday (15th March 2020) team members ran a lifejacket clinic at the Royal Temple Yacht Club, Ramsgate at the kind invitation of the Club Commodore.

Many of you will own a lifejacket or bouyancy aid (also known as a personal floatation device) or certainly have worn one in the past if you take part in any form of water based activity such as sailoring, off-shore angling, sea fishing, motor boating, paddle boarding, canoeing or kayaking. Your lifejacket may help save your life one day, but only if you maintain it properly and wear it for your chosen activity.

You may have heard the term ‘useless unless worn’ in articles about safety whilst on the water, which is so true when considering what a such important part a lifejacket plays in your everyday safety drills. So, the clinic is all about helping to keep people safe by checking their lifejackets and giving out other advice to keep them safe whilst on the water.

Throughout the lifejacket clinic the team checked nineteen lifejackets intotal and sixty eight per cent failed for a variety of reasons. Which included : corroded cylinders and out-of-date firing mechanism’s.

RNLI recommendation

The RNLI recommend’s that the owner/skipper undertakes a thorough inspection of each and every lifejacket at least once a year – more often if the lifejacket is used frequently and to have the lifejacket serviced at the manufacturer’s recommended intervals. We must point out that an inspection by an RNLI Community Safety Adviser is not the equavalent of a lifejacket service.

Here are our recommended basic checks which should be undertaken prior to every trip before donning the lifejacket:

Inspect the outside of the lifejacket for wear and tear

Even it is a lifejacket with an inspection window, undo the jacket at the point next to the inflator

Check the gas cylinder is handtight, or if it’s a bayonet type firmly locked in position

If the lifejacket is new to you, remove the cylinder and check it has not been fired

Replace with a new cylinder if required

Look for the green  indicators on the trigger and if fitted, on the automatic firing system

Keep spare cylinders and the replaceable parts for the automatic firing system on hand, so that if required the jacket can be re-armed. Alternatively, keep spare armed jackets aboard the vessel.


Lifejacket inspections can be undertaken during an advice on board session, at a lifejacket clinic (as at the Royal Temple Yacht Club) or ad-hoc when speaking with members of the public during our ‘walking the pontoons’ at Ramsgate Harbour. Just drop our team a private message on our Facebook page and we can organise a lifejacket check or Advice on Board session for you completely free of charge.

We would like to thank all the people who visited the lifejacket clinic and brought along their jackets to be checked. A big shout out also to Karen Cox (Ramsgate Lifeboat Press Officer) and the Royal Temple Yacht Club staff for making us very welcome and for facilitating our clinic.

Other useful references

When was the last time you checked your lifejacket?

Anglers and lifejackets

Why wearing a lifejacket or bouyancy aid is so important!


Royal Temple Yacht Club
News Archive

Recent Launches

Service Call 22
30th June @ 16:26 ILB launched to a person that had fallen over the harbour wall, seaward side, with the tide rapidly coming in. On scene 2 ILB crew went ashore to assess the casualty and kept his head above water. A 3rd crew member came ashore with the stretcher and with the help of the other 2, got the casualty into it. He was then taken to the ILB in the stretcher, and once secure rushed back to the boathouse where an ambulance crew were waiting.
Service Call 21
30th June @ 10:27 ILB launched to a small pleasure craft with steering difficulties off Broadstairs pier with one person on board. On scene the ILB put one crewmember aboard to attach a line and then towed the casualty back to Ramsgate.
Photo by Ramsgate RNLI
Service Call 20
27th June @ 07:32 AWB launched at the request of UK Coastguard to a RIB in difficulty East of the Goodwin Sands. On scene the casualties were taken aboard another vessel that was in the area, allowing the lifeboat to tow the RIB back to Ramsgate.
Service Call 19
26th June @ 21:41 ILB launched to the assistance of a 29ft yacht with engine failure, 1 mile north of Ramsgate. On scene the ILB passed a line and towed the casualty in to Ramsgate.
Service Call 18
26th June @ 15:50 On returning to station after incident 17, the ILB was diverted to a small cabin cruiser with engine failure behind the Southern Breakwater. On scene the ILB attached a line and towed the casualty into the harbour.
Photo by Ramsgate RNLI
Service Call 17
26th June @ 15:21 ILB launched to a report of a group of people cut off by the tide near Stone Bay. On scene the ILB crew saw the 9 persons making their way carefully back to the main beach. Once the ILB crew were happy that the persons were safe, made their way back to Ramsgate. False alarm with good intent.
Service Archive

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