Ramsgate Lifeboat
In an emergency, call 999 or 112 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.
RNLI’s water safety warning during lockdown

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) is urging anyone who is able to visit the coast during lockdown under government guidelines, to stay safe and not to take any unnecessary risks that may put extra pressure on emergency services.


As the UK and Ireland enter new nationwide lockdowns, RNLI lifeboats will continue to launch as they have done throughout the pandemic. However every time a lifeboat crew is called to an incident, it puts additional pressure on RNLI volunteers and other frontline emergency services. It also potentially exposes them to Covid-19.

While people are allowed and encouraged to exercise, the RNLI recommends that everyone takes extra care if this exercise is on or in the sea.


Gareth Morrison, RNLI Head of Water Safety, said: During lockdown, RNLI lifeboats and stations remain operational and will launch around the clock where there is risk to life.


We would encourage everyone to follow the latest government guidelines on what they are able to do and where they are able to go during lockdown, but for anyone visiting a coastal area please understand the risks so you can stay as safe as possible and not put unnecessary strain on frontline services. No one ever heads to the coast with the expectation of needing to be rescued, yet rescues are occurring every day.


In a normal year around 150 people lose their lives at the coast and we know that more than half of those never intended to be in the water. So, whether you are walking, running, or cycling at the coast, or enjoying some activity on or in the water, please be extra responsible and avoid taking unnecessary risks.


The RNLI and HM Coastguard last month launched a winter coastal safety campaign to highlight the dangers of stormy seas, changing tides and cliffs at this time of year.


Gareth Morrison added: Our beaches and coastal areas may see an increase in visitors in the days and weeks to come, and we know that open water swimming has seen a huge surge in popularity this year along the south coast, so were urging everyone to follow our advice and stay safe.


In particular, at this time of year we ask people to stay well back from stormy, wintry seas and cliff edges, check tide times before you go, take a phone with you, and call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coastguard if you or someone else is in trouble.


The RNLIs key water safety advice is:


  • Take care if walking near cliffs  be aware of ice and frost, know your route and keep dogs on a lead

  • Check tide times for that day

  • Take a fully-charged phone

  • If going afloat, always wear a lifejacket or other personal flotation device and take a means of calling for help

  • Check all your equipment is in good working order

  • Be aware of the conditions and your capabilities and only enter the water if it is safe to do so

  • In an emergency call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coastguard

  • Additional safety advice at www.rnli.org/safety

Ramsgate Tides

Broadstairs Tides

Desktop Pager

Would you like to know when your local RNLI lifeboat goes out on a shout?

Keep in touch wherever you are by signing up for lifeboat launch SMS alerts. Or download our Desktop Pager and keep up with our crews while working at your computer.

Select the stations you wish to follow and when the crew gets the call, you will too.


Latest News

8th June 2021
No Sunday lie in for Ramsgate RNLI
The volunteer crew of Ramsgate RNLI were kept busy on Sunday 6 June when they launched twice to yachts with engine failure.

The first launch was at 08:28 when the Inshore Lifeboat Claire and David Delves was launched to reports of a seven metre yacht  aground in Joss Bay, Broadstairs with no one onboard.

Once on scene the crew noticed a paddle boarder in the Bay,  who once approached was more than happy to assist by taking one crew member to the yacht, along with the tow rope.

When the tow rope had been attached to the yacht the crew waited for the tide to rise until the yacht began to re-float and they were able at that point to tow it out into deeper water. The Inshore crewman aboard carried out an inspection to check for any water ingress and once he was satisfied that the yacht was sound they proceeded to tow the yacht into Ramsgate harbour with a crew member still aboard.

It was later found that the yacht had ran aground due to engine failure and the lone sailer had made his way safely ashore. Margate mobile Coastguard were also on scene.

Shortly after that at 12:22 the Inshore was once again launched, this time to a nine meter cruiser with eight people and  a dog aboard, once again with engine failure in Sandwich Bay. 

The inshore transferred a crewmember to the casualty to assist with retrieving the anchor and to attach the tow rope and then towed the yacht into Ramsgate Harbour where they assisted in mooring it up.

Sunday was a glorious day with a calm sea enticing lots of people out onto their boats to enjoy the sun and sea, after such a cold wet start to the year.

Ramsgate Mechanic Phil Mace said, “ Boats, just like cars, need regular maintenance, and engines in particular need a thorough overhaul when they have been standing idle for long periods of time. Always check that lifejackets are in a good state of repair and make sure to always carry a means of communication. No one expects to have a problem, but in the event of an emergency a radio or phone are essential”
The first yacht being towed into the harbour, photo by Steve Burton.
3rd June 2021
Half term proves to be a busy week for Ramsgate RNLI
With the current Covid restrictions forcing most people to curtail their foreign holiday plans this year, our coastlines have seen an increase of people having a Staycation.

Here in the South East we are lucky to have many beautiful beaches but this comes with added pressure during the holiday season especially when we are enjoying warm weather for the first time in ages. Since Sunday 30 May we have been called out to four incidents, and the week has not yet finished.

Sunday at 15:25 the Inshore Lifeboat ‘Claire and David Delves’ was launched at the request of the HM Coastguard to a man cut off by the tide at Dumpton Gap in Broadstairs. This area is notorious for people mistiming the tides and getting cut off, which is why our volunteer RNLI Thanet Community team often patrol that area giving safety advise. Walking alone around the coastline is not ideal, but he was able to call for help as he had a mobile phone with him. The Inshore Lifeboat went in close under the cliffs to reach him and assisted the person onboard and then took him to Broadstairs Harbour before returning to Ramsgate RNLI station.

Monday 31 May at 16:06 the Inshore was once again launched to the assistance of a yacht with engine failure off North Foreland with two people onboard. A local Windfarm vessel ‘Tow Tornado’ had also heard the Pan-Pan call for assistance over the radio and was shadowing the yacht in case it had serious problems.
Once on scene the volunteer crew passed a line to the yacht and, once safely secured, towed them into Ramsgate Harbour and assisted them to moor up. After repairs the yacht was able to continue on with its journey around the coast.

On Wednesday 2 June the Inshore was launched twice, the first at 13:45 to reports of an inflatable with one woman and four children onboard which had drifted from Ramsgate Main Sands to the back of the East Pier below Port Control. The tide was strong at 2-3 knots making it impossible to paddle against it. As the Inshore arrived on the scene, two other women, who had spotted that they were in trouble, had managed to swim round to assist them. Although a courageous act, this again could have put the rescuers in trouble. Their plan was to climb back up the break wall to safety but the RNLI crew advised against this and ferried the two helpers back to the main beach and then the family were taken to the RNLI station where safety advise was given. The inflatable remained at the station for our disposal.

Shortly afterward at 14:48 the Inshore launched once again after a member of the public reported a kayaker in difficulty off the Main Sands. The crew located the kayak moored up and then followed the shoreline searching for the owner, they later found that the kayaker had tied his inflatable kayak to Winderstoke Outfall sewage pipe marker post and then gone snorkelling. The strong tide had swept him along towards the harbour where he managed to make his way safely ashore. After collecting the kayak it was returned to its owner, along with appropriate safety information.

Our volunteer crew are on call all the time, a service funded solely by public donations. As more people head to our coasts at this time we need your support more than ever.
Returning the family swept out to sea to the safety of the RNLI station.
Photo by Station Mechanic Phil Mace.
23rd May 2021

Not all of our volunteers wear yellows and go out to sea.

Working in the background are an equally dedicated committee of volunteers including Fundraisers, an Archivist, our Treasurer, a Press Officer, Webmaster, Educators, and water safety advisors all working hard to support the station.

We would like to acknowledge the Head of our team, Eric Burton, not only has he been our Chairman since 2012, he has been involved with Ramsgate RNLI for 40 years.

Who best to tell his story, than his son, Steve Burton.....

“Dad’s involvement with  the RNLI started 40 years ago this month when a friend of his from Round Table (Colin Todd) who was on the Station committee at the time asked him if he would be interested in taking over from him organising the flag week collections as he was moving away from the area due to work.
So Dad went to his first meeting in May 1981. On meeting the Chairman (Cllr Richard Talyor) prior to the meeting he was asked if he was the new chap who was going to organising Flag – Dad replied yes – Good came the reply – you are also taking the minutes of this evening’s meeting!

And so it started…… Back then flag week was a whole week event with up to 50 people around Ramsgate doing house to house collections all over Ramsgate. Dad delivered, collected, emptied and counted (with a little help from yours truly) around 100 boxes from the house to house collections.

Then there was the big collection in the town centre on the Saturday to round off the week. I’m not sure how long dad organised the collections for but it was a few years until he handed it over, due to work commitments.

Dad has always been keen on boats and sailing in particular so that was why he was asked to get involved in the first place. There were also Sundays spent manning the Maritime Museum in the early years as the RNLI had a table selling souvenirs in there.

He has sat on the Committee all that time until taking over as Chairman in October 2012 when Dr Bill Crawford stood down.“

Thank you Eric for your dedication to the RNLI, we hope you will continue in your role for many more years.
The photo is of Eric at the Naming Ceremony for our current inshore lifeboat, Claire and David Delves, in 2014.
12th May 2020
Twenty year service award to local RNLI supporter John Homer
After spending twenty years giving words of advise on sea safety, John was finally lost for words when he received his long service award from the RNLI.

Having first sailed at the age of fourteen, and owning his own yacht from the age of twenty and with sixty years experience on the water, there isn’t much that John Homer doesn’t know about boats.

About twenty five years ago he joined the Bexleyheath branch of the RNLI as part of the volunteer fundraising team. Having moved to Medway, where he berths his own yacht, a Countess 37 Ketch, he became involved with Sheerness Lifeboat Station providing Sea Checks, a free service provided by the RNLI, checking on the seaworthiness of yachts, advising on engine maintenance, sea safety and providing life jacket services.

Asked whether he ever had to call the RNLI whilst sailing he said, “I bought my yacht after having a full survey done on her, and the weekend after was heading from Medway to St Katherine’s Docks in London when my alternator seized on the boat by the Thames Barrier, leaving me with no power. As required I radioed up, explaining the situation and a nearby friend was able to provide a tow for me. Shortly after Tower RNLI station radioed up asking if I was in need of any assistance, followed shortly after by Gravesend Lifeboat station. Both offers were politely declined explaining that I was under tow and quite safe.

That night the Coxswain of Sheerness phoned me up asking what was the trouble with the alternator, word had reached my station! I was very glad that I didn’t have to get any of the crew to come out to rescue me, I would never have lived it down!”

John moved to Broadstairs seven years ago and is now part of the volunteer Thanet RNLI Community Team, spending his weekends patrolling our beaches, giving advise to residents and visitors alike. He’s always amazed how people from as close as London have no idea at all about the tides, and are completely unaware that they can be cut off by the water and place themselves in danger.

He explained what he does to me, “It’s not a hobby, it’s important!”

Well done John, thank you for everything you do, and hope you have many more years ahead of you.
John proudly displaying his medal.

Without people like John and the generosity of the general public the RNLI would no longer be able to continue its work of Saving Lives at Sea as we are solely funded by public donations.
6th May 2021
Mayday walk
Every May the RNLI launches its Mayday campaign to raise money to support our volunteer crew. This has been a difficult year for the Fundraising teams when the impact of Covid has seen most events having to be cancelled.

The Mayday Mile appeal asks people to walk a mile to raise money and runs from 1st to 31st May. Anyone can join in and it means that you can enjoy a walk, socially distanced whilst supporting the RNLI.

A mayday call is the most urgent plea RNLI lifesavers receive, and is used when life is in immediate danger. Usually our lifesavers answer calls for help. But today, with summer on the way, it's they who need YOUR help.

We’re expecting more families than ever to book holidays in the UK and Ireland this year. People are excited to get away – and that’s how it should be. But it’s so easy to get into trouble by the water. For walkers to get cut off by the tide, a common occurrence around the Joss Bay to Stone Bay coastline. Or for a paddling child to be swept out to sea.

Two people who have answered the Mayday call are Sarah Hewes, Thanet RNLI Fundraising Chairman and Karen Cox Ramsgate Lifeboat Press Officer.

They walked from Margate RNLI station on Wednesday 5th May to Ramsgate RNLI station.

On route they passed the site of Kingsgate Lifeboat station which was built in 1883 and was in service from 1862-1897 and then onto Broadstairs Lifeboat station on the harbour, which was in service from 1851-1912 with the RNLI taking over in 1868.

Members of the team met them along the way to cheer them on and even provide a lovely lunch and also bought them an ice cream!
On arrival at Ramsgate RNLI they were greeted by the crew.

If you would like to support Sarah and Karen then please use this link to donate, or call into Ramsgate RNLI shop to donate. https://themaydaymile.rnli.org/fundraising/mayday-4-station-walk and every penny helps.

So far they have raised £675 with more donations pledged.

§ £25 could provide a pair of sea-going gloves to protect the RNLI’s lifesavers from wind-chill and rope burn.
§ £55 could buy a pair of sturdy, protective, non-slip boots to keep volunteers sure-footed at sea.
§ £100 could help the RNLI to bring water safety lessons to school children for the summer season ahead.
It was a lovely sunny morning and the rain clouds kept their distance. They were waved off by members of the Thanet RNLI Fundraising Team and also the Ramsgate Chairman and his team.
Karen on the left, Sarah on the right - photo by John Ray
Sarah and Karen at Ramsgate RNLI holding the Mayday banner
Kingsgate Lifeboat station
28th April 2021
Spring tides this weekend
Given the fine and sunny weather forecast for the upcoming Bank Holiday the RNLI thought it timely to offer some safety advice for those of you thinking of visiting the coast over the weekend.

Guy Addington, RNLI Water Safety lead for the South East region says:

‘RNLI lifeboats around the coast are ready to respond to emergency situations, but we are urging people to think very carefully about beach safety before setting off on a coastal walk, especially during the big spring tides. At Ramsgate, we often get call outs for people walking around our coast, in particular the Stone Bay to Joss Bay stretch..’

‘The tide comes in and out twice in each 24-hour period, and while tide times can be accurately predicted, they vary at each location and change each day. A beach or coastal area may appear a safe place for a walk, but incoming tide can quickly leave you stranded. On bigger tides like we will see in the coming days, places will be cut off by the tide quicker than normal and places usually unaffected by the tide may also be cut off. That’s why checking the weather and tides using a trusted online source, like the Ramsgate RNLI Facebook page for Ramsgate and Broadstairs, or any other tidal prediction app before setting off is advised.’

The RNLI isn’t trying to stop anyone having fun. They are just urging anyone choosing to visit the coast to make sure they keep themselves and their families safe by following beach safety advice along with the government’s advice on travel and social distancing:

• Visit a lifeguarded beach where possible and swim between the red and yellow flags - find your nearest at rnli.org.uk/lifeguarded beaches
• Wherever you are, check the weather forecast, tide times and read local hazard signage to understand local risks
• Take a means of communication with you
• 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 an emergency dial 999 and ask for the Coastguard.

We are also advising anyone using their local coastline for exercise to keep well away from cliff edges and bases. Chalk cliffs are subject to erosion, can be unstable and can collapse without warning. These can be very dangerous for anyone standing near the edge or underneath them. Please admire the coastal views from a safe distance, and once again, if you get into difficulty or see someone else in difficulty, always dial 999 and ask for the Coastguard.
Photo by Ian Lockyer
News Archive

Recent Launches

Service Call 31
25th June @ 01:40 ILB launched at the request of UK Coastguard to a report of a person suspected to be in the water off Ramsgate Main Sands.  ILB carried out an extensive shoreline search, with Coastguard mobile units covering the shore. After approximately an hours search a report came in that the person was safely ashore and in no difficulty.  ILB was stood down and returned to station.
False alarm with good intent.
Service Call 30
17th June @ 22:51 AWB launched at the request of UK Coastguard to a small Dutch Barge with 1 person on board, 10 miles East of Ramsgate, having difficulty making way to Ramsgate.  AWB arrived on scene, passed a line, then proceeded to tow the casualty into Ramsgate Harbour.
Service Call 29
16th June @ 1821 ILB launched to the assistance of a small yacht with 2 persons aboard, broken down at the mouth of the River Stour.  ILB passed a line and once the casualty had retrieved his anchor, towed him into Ramsgate Harbour.
Service Call 28
15th June @ 08:05 ILB launched to a yacht aground just outside the harbour.  On scene the yacht was found to be high and dry.  The ILB assisted with putting the yachts anchor out, and will return to scene when the tide has risen enough to re-float the casualty vessel.

11:30 ILB returned to the casualty, transferred a crew member aboard to assist with raising the anchor, attached a line and towed the casualty into deeper water, then on to Ramsgate Harbour.
Photo by Mark Stanford
Service Call 26 & 27
13th June @ 13:17 ILB launched after the Coastguard received a phone call from some concerned persons that 2 adults and a child from their group could be cut off by the tide.  ILB carried out a thorough search from Stone Bay to Botany Bay and could only find 3 girls on the beach at Stone Bay, who were all ok.  From Botany Bay on their return leg, assisted the Lifeguards at Joss Bay with an inflatable with 2 persons on board.  ILB collected the 2 persons from the inflatable, their inflatable, Lifeguard and Lifeguard Body Board, and returned them all back to the beach.

The ILB was then asked if they could give advice to someone else in another inflatable.  ILB then returned to station.
Service Call 24 & 25
ILB launched to a report of a kite surfer in difficulty down by the Western Undercliff.  ILB found the kite surfer and got him into the ILB, where he was then dropped off ashore.  The IB then retrieved his Kite Surfing equipment and returned to Ramsgate Harbour. On arrival at the Harbour the ILB found a yacht aground under port control.  The ILB attached a line and towed the yacht into deeper water, where it was able to make its own way into Harbour, with the ILB escorting.
Service Archive

Fundraising Events

Support Us @

Thanet Community Lotto
  • Support local causes and win prizes of up to £25,000!

  • 50% of all tickets sold from our page go to us!

  • PLUS 10% goes to other good causes in Thanet!

  • Tickets only cost £1 per week!

  • Support us and win prizes - WIN WIN!
Give as you Live
Want to help us raise even more for free? Well now you can just by shopping online via Give as you Live!

When you shop at over 4,200 top stores including John Lewis & Partners, Expedia and Amazon via Give as you Live, they'll turn a percentage of your spend into free funds for us!

Simply sign up, search for the retailer and start shopping. It's that simple!

Get started today!
Please help support RNLI Ramsgate Lifeboat by shopping online.

Use easyfundraising to shop with over 3,300 retailers including Amazon, Argos, John Lewis, ASOS, Booking.com, eBay, Boden, and M&S.

Every time you shop, you’ll raise a free donation for RNLI Ramsgate Lifeboat every time, it’s that easy!
Copyright 1999-2021 by Clive Lawford (e-mail). All Rights Reserved.
You are very welcome to link to this site, though any form of duplication requires written consent from me unless otherwise stated.

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