Ramsgate Lifeboat
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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.

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Latest News

13th December 2019

The Betty's 5p Pots for the year were collected from the Northwood Women’s Institute on Tuesday evening. The total raised was £100.85 which is a fantastic total and very much appreciated.

Photo by Maxine Morgan
13th December 2019
Sincere thanks to Jason and the team at the Mariners Bar.

Following on from raising £131.45 at their recent Carols by Candlelight, they are now running a Raffle for a superb Hamper to raise further funds for RNLI Ramsgate, which is £3 a strip. The draw for the Raffle is on Christmas Eve.

Photo by Sarah Hewes
13th December 2019
RAMSGATE RNLI station were presented today (13th December) with a cheque for £2000 from the Atlantic Avengers Rowing Duo John Wilson and Ricky Reina, both from Folkestone.

Back in February 2016 when Ricky was recovering from a knee operation, he could never have dreamed that he would one day row across the Atlantic. As part of his recuperation he was training on an indoor rowing machine at the gym, where he met John Wilson. John was a specialist in indoor rowing, and the pair hit it off. Between them they set a record for indoor rowing, four days non stop, then they decided to try rowing on water.
They bought themselves a 9 metre long, three quarter ton,two man canoe, a Rossiter Ocean II, called Sic Parvis Magna - Small but Mighty. This three year old canoe already had a pedigree as had been used to row the Atlantic and also around Britain.

The duo decided to take a year out of work to train for the crossing, moving from indoors to the Lakes at Lydd and then to Ramsgate Harbour where they would row for 5-6 hours at a  time out at sea. The reason for Ramsgate in particular, not their home port of Folkestone, was that the strong tides across the entrance to the harbour meant that they were able to train in challenging conditions.

One day when they were out practising a member of the public raised the alarm, believing that kayakers were in difficulty. Ramsgate RNLI’s inshore lifeboat was launched to assist them but the volunteer crew realised as they approached who the rowers were and after a quick check and a wave returned back to base.

With little support, other than their families, the rowers approached Leven Brown, who is a British Ocean Racer holding five Guinness World Records. He was able to advise them how to prepare for the mammoth task ahead.
So on November 27 2018 they set off from Cadiz in Spain in fairly miserable conditions, and their journey down to the Canaries was wet and damp. Also the lack of sun meant that their solar panels for running their equipment didn’t work so for the first month it was back to basics using a compass and chart. They had 2 hour shifts at rowing, and their two hours off were spent trying to sleep, doing squats to keep their leg muscles working, and most importantly keeping clean, as sweat and salt can cause nasty sores. It took them two months to reach the halfway point! Luckily for the first part of the trip they were very civilised with a glass of wine every evening with their rehydrated meal. However after that their store of 25 litres of red wine, 3 litres of rum and a few beers ran out. They did manage to catch and cook two fish whilst they were crossing which made a welcome change to their diet.

Christmas Day was celebrated by opening little parcels from their families and eating a few treats, and then they stopped rowing at 3pm to enjoy a few beers and watch the dolphins play in the water.

Not every day was so relaxing however, some days in bad weather they were unable to row, and at one point they spent four days locked in the very small cabin just off Tenerife riding out a storm. At this point they were “moonwalking” as they called it, which meant going Backwards! And once they were mid Atlantic they encountered nightly squalls, using when John was rowing! However they didn’t last very long.

The last half of the journey was much smoother and completed in one month and they arrived in Falmouth Harbour, Antigua on 23 February 2019. Their families were there to meet them and this happened to be Ricky’s son Barney’s 8th birthday. Apparently he was not happy at all being woken up at 5am to meet his dad and said it was the worst day ever, however his tears of frustration soon changed to tears of joy when he saw his dad. The two men were exhausted, and hungry for some proper food. Ricky managed to eat four cheeseburgers and chips for his first meal, but he deserved it as he had dropped from 109kg to 79kg during the journey. John, in a leaner position to start with still lost 5kg.

John now holds the Guinness World Record for the oldest man to row from Continental Europe to Antigua at the grand old age of 58. The pair hold the record for the first male pair to row from Continental Europe to Antigua a distance of approximately 4500 miles and the title they are most proud of is, despite all their hardships, they are the fastest out of any category of rowers to row across.

They raised over £40,000 sponsorship during their event and wanted to present RAMSGATE RNLI with a portion of it for all their support whilst they trained in Ramsgate. As Ricky said ‘ it was just great knowing that the RNLI were there in case things did go wrong’

They have now set up a trust where local sportsman can apply for grants, look them up under Atlantic Avengers on YouTube, Facebook and on AtlanticAvengers.com.
The pair in Ramsgate Harbour
Arrival into Antigua
Cheque presentation
Photo by Sarah Hewes
13th December 2019
Ramsgate RNLI receive an Historic England award
Members of Ramsgate’s Christ Church Junior School’s History Detective Club chose four past Ramsgate RNLI coxswains to research for a project supported by the local ‘Discovery Planet’ team and Historic England entitled ‘Ramsgate’s Remarkable Residents’.

Having been visited earlier in 2019 by a RNLI Education Presenter and in turn having raised money for and visited Ramsgate RNLI lifeboat station the History Detective Club members thought they would like to find out more about some of the people involved in the station’s 200+ year history.

The four people they decided to research were Isaac Jarman (Coxswain 1861-1870 and awarded 2 Silver Medals), Charles Fish (Coxswain 1870-1891 and awarded 2 Gold and 1 Silver Medal), Howard Knight (Coxswain 1936-1946 and awarded the Distinguished Service Medal for his service with the RNLI at Dunkirk in 1940) and Ron Cannon MBE (Coxswain 1976-2001 and awarded 2 Silver Medals).

With the support of Ramsgate Lifeboat Archivists John and Vanessa Ray they researched the relevant RNLI rescues and filmed interviews with some of the present and recent crew members. They also researched the coxswains using computer records, census returns and old newspaper records held in the local library.

Their research culminated in a recent presentation at a whole school assembly at which representatives of Ramsgate RNLI, Historic England and Discovery Planet were in attendance. As well as receiving copies of the coxswains ‘plaques’ Ramsgate RNLI were also presented with an Historic England ‘Heritage Schools Heritage Partner Award’ certificate.
Photo NIkki Hildesley 
27th November 2019
Halloween total
The final total for the Halloween at the Arches is now in, they raised a fantastic £750 for RNLI Ramsgate Lifeboat. Sincere thanks go to everyone who attended the event and of course Something Fishy, Ship Shape, Level Eleven, The Arch Bar, The Greek Arch, Antique & Retro, Archive, Coco Latino, Harbour Bikes, York Street Gallery and the Mariners Bar for all their kindness & hard work in making the event such a success.

Photo by Sarah Hewes
27th November 2019
On this day 27th November 1954
On this day 65 years ago the South Goodwins Lightvessel capsized with the loss of all crew, and just one survivor who was a Birdwatcher from the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries and happened to be on deck at the time.

Our current Coxswain’s grandfather Robert (Bob) Cannon was mechanic at the time, and the memory of that night stayed with him for the rest of his life.

During one of the worst channel storms in two centuries, No. 90 Lightvessel founders upon the Goodwin Sands during the night, losing all seven crewmen as storm waves parted the vessel’s mooring cable, dragging it from its position at the north end of the narrowest point of the Dover Straits.

The alarm was raised by Deal Coastguard who reported the South Goodwin light extinguished, the visibility being good, despite the wind. At 01.15 the Coastguard reported the lightvessel was suspected of being off-station; at 02.30 the Ramsgate lifeboat was launched, followed at 02.50 by the Dover boat. At Harwich the Trinity House Chief Superintendent ordered Captain R N Thompson to sail and THV Vestal left her berth at 05.30, steaming south at her best speed. In daylight, the lifeboats found the lightvessel 6.5 miles to the northward of her Assigned Position, driven on to the sands, close to the Kellett Gut where she had rolled on her side.

At 07.00 an American helicopter from RAF Manston flew over the wreck and at 08.00 the BBC Home Service reported the disaster. The wind remained strong, heavy seas were breaking over the wreck and none of the lifeboats were able to get near the stricken lightvessel lying on her side in the shallows. Several passes were made by the helicopter before a single figure, dressed in pyjamas, was seen clinging to the rails. Only Ronald Murton, a visitor from the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, would survive the night. Lifeboats and a helicopter managed to secure the visitor, found clinging to the side of the vessel, but no other men would be found. After 27 November, the international maritime community was quick to rally around with commiserations.

Trinity House was fortunate enough to meet recently with Mr. and Mrs. J Park; Mr. Park is the son of the late Major Paul Park, the commanding officer of the American helicopter that led the rescue efforts. The Parks very kindly presented to Trinity House a number of archival mementos from the outpouring of gratitude that was due the brave rescue team after their efforts.

The men that crewed the South Goodwin lightvessel were Thomas Skipp from Coggeshall, Essex; Kenneth Lanham from Bow, East London; Sidney Philpott from Ramsgate, Kent; Walter Viney from Plaistow, East London; George Cox from Gorlestone, Norfolk; Thomas Porter from Holbrook, Suffolk; and Henry Lynn from Dovercourt, Essex.

Credit to Askett for the information.
Photo taken by Ian Cannon a few months ago whilst out on exercise mapping the sands
For his part in this rescue, the pilot of the helicopter Captain Curtis E. Parkins was awarded the RNLI Silver Medal. This was the first time a RNLI medal was awarded to a pilot of an aircraft.
News Archive

Recent Launches

Service Call 63
7th December @ 04:09 ILB launched at the request of UK Coastguard to assist other emergency services (two fire engines a rescue team and police) at Ramsgate’s East Pier this morning after a man caught his leg in the Jubilee steps and ended up hanging upside down.

Using a rescue sling the attending emergency services managed to release the man from the steps and lower him safely into the ILB.

Once aboard the ILB he was then brought ashore and handed over to the awaiting ambulance.
Service Call 62
6th December @ 12:29 AWB launched at the request of UK Coastguard to a 32.2m bean trawler with engine failure, 20 miles NE of Ramsgate, with 7 person on board. AWB was tasked to stand by the beam trawler ensuring its safety until a tug arrived on scene from Ramsgate. Once the tug arrived and were happy that the tow was attached, the AWB was released and returned to station. Weather on scene force 6-7.
Service Call 61
30th November @ 21:36 ILB requested by UK Coastguard to be at immediate readiness in case their assistance was required by other emergency personnel attending a situation. ILB stood down @ 22:00.
Service Call 60
25th October @ 05:20 AWB launched at the request of UK Coastguard to assist Walmer Lifeboat who had been on scene since 02:00, with a yacht aground on the Goodwin Sands, East of Walmer Lifeboat Station. As the crew of the yacht had been taken off by UK Coastguard helicopter, the Walmer Lifeboat transferred 2 of their crew aboard the yacht to assist with attaching a tow line and assess for any damage. By this time the yacht had re-floated and after having attached the line the Ramsgate AWB then towed the casualty to Ramsgate with Walmer Lifeboat escorting. Once inside Ramsgate Harbour the tow was transferred to Walmer Lifeboat who berthed the casualty onto a pontoon, allowing Ramsgate AWB to returned to station.
Photo by Ramsgate RNLI
Service Call 59
11th November @ 00:55 AWB launched at the request of UK Coastguard to assist with a multi agency operation.
Service Call 58
29th October @ 17:24 ILB launched at the request of UK Coastguard to a report of a 10 year old child missing between Ramsgate Main sands and Dumpton Gap. The ILB carried out an extensive search utilising white illuminating flares, along with mobile Coastguard units covering the shore. After 40 minutes into the search it was reported and confirmed that the child was safely shore. ILB returned to station.
Service Archive

Fundraising Events

RNLI Ramsgate Lifeboat Carol Service
Saturday, 14th December 2019 at 2 PM - 3 PM

St George's Church Ramsgate

Due to the enormous turn out at last years Carol Service we have had to change the location to St. George's Church. Same style service, please come and join us again this year. The Church's Christmas Tree Festival will also be on at the same time. RNLI Ramsgate will again be partaking in the Festival so please take time to see our tree along with all the other fantastic trees.

At the end of the Service there will be a collection for RNLI Ramsgate Lifeboat.

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