Ramsgate Lifeboat
24th July 2020

Thursday 23 July was a lovely sunny day attracting many people to the seaside but sadly for some it was a day that they will remember for a long time.

The first launch for Ramsgate RNLI was at 13.29 when the inshore lifeboat was launched to a local fisherman who had been out in his angling boat fishing along the back of the Southern Breakwater at Ramsgate Harbour.

He was attempting to haul in his anchor, lost his footing and went over the side, thankfully he was wearing a life jacket which immediately inflated.

The tide was running hard at 4 knots and swept him onto the rocks which make up the Breakwater. He was able to clamber over them and into the relatively calm, sheltered waters of the Port turning circle. The inshore lifeboat recovered him from the water and placed a member of their own crew into his fishing boat to assist his fellow novice crew in bringing back the vessel into the harbour. The casualty was cold, tired and wet but very grateful to the volunteer crew.

On returning to station the crew were met by the Dock Masters who were concerned about  a yacht that had radioed up three hours before.

A call had been made to HM Coastguard three hours previously by a yacht on passage to Ramsgate that had suffered engine failure. However they had decided to sail onto Ramsgate and arrangements had been made for a Harbour boat to bring them into the Harbour and assist them in berthing. However communications had been poor as they were also having issues with their radio and the boat was overdue. After discussions with Port Control and the Coastguard the inshore lifeboat set off to find the yacht at 13.45 and found that it had overshot Ramsgate and was in Stone Bay, Broadstairs.

A rope was passed to the casualty and the yacht towed safely back to Ramsgate, staying close inshore to avoid the fast moving tide, much to the delight of the people on the beach, who took to social media to express their delight.

Later the same day at 17.59 the Inshore Lifeboat was once again launched by the Coastguard to a report of two children in an inflatable kayak by Sandwich Bay swept out to sea, with their mother attempting to swim out and reach them.

On scene the Inshore crew found the children to be alright and safe for the time being, so immediately went to the aid of mother, who was struggling and had swallowed sea water. She was taken onboard the Inshore Lifeboat. They then returned to the kayak and got the two children aboard and then returned the reunited family to the beach, where they were handed over to Deal mobile Coastguard so that the mother could be assessed as she was coughing due to water intake and was cold. Once again the volunteer crew returned to station.

Three very different stories but all of which highlight the need to be prepared and heed safety advise when heading to the seaside. Thankfully everyone was safe but all outcomes could have been very different, if the fisherman hadn’t been wearing a life jacket, if the Dock Masters hadn’t raised the alarm and if the children and their mother hadn’t been reached by the lifeboat crew.

Around 150 people die by accident each year in the U.K. with the Lifeboat launching 9000 times in 2018. Without the support of the public the RNLI would be unable to continue their role of Saving Lives at Sea.
Inshore Lifeboat Claire and David Delves towing the stricken vessel. Photo by Emma Sutton
The yacht being moored in Ramsgate Harbour. Photo by Maz Critchley
Inshore lifeboat Claire and David Delves returning from Sandwich Bay. Photo by Mark Stanford
3rd July 2020

The Ramsgate AWB "ESME ANDERSON" will be departing Saturday 4th July to have some Antifoul work done. Whilst she is away relief will be provided by a Trent which arrived into Ramsgate this afternoon.

The relief AWB is the 14.15 (ON1213) "HENRY HEYS DUCKWORTH", seen arriving here.
Photo by Sarah Hewes
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
15th March 2020

Our new Fundraising and Partnerships Lead, Claire Cardwell made her first visit to RNLI Ramsgate Lifeboat Station on Friday 13th March. She held a meeting with our Chairman of Fundraising, Sarah Hewes and chatted to our Coxswain, Ian Cannon and the Crew who were at the Station before briefly visiting the RNLI Ramsgate Shop.

Whilst at the Station she was kindly given a tour of our all-weather lifeboat “Esme Anderson” by Phil Mace our Mechanic and was shown our inshore lifeboat “Claire & David Delves”.

We hope you enjoyed your first visit Claire & we look forward to working with you in the future.
Photo by Sarah Hewes
8th March 2020
Ramsgate RNLI crew member gives talk to celebrate International Women Day
Ramsgate RNLI's local yacht club, the Royal Temple Yacht Club invited Emma Sutton to talk about her life.

International Women's Day started back in 1977 when the United Nations invited member states to proclaim March 8 as the Day for women's rights and world peace, and has since been the custom for inspirational women to give talks at various events across the world.

The Royal Temple Yacht Club, based in Ramsgate since 1896, approached one of the local RNLI's female crew to share her personal experience of being a crew member as well as being a full time teacher and mother.

Emma Sutton has only been a full time crew member for just over a year, spending the previous year as shore crew gaining valuable experience as she had no knowledge of the sea before she joined up. Below, in her own words, are extracts from her talk.

'I am a mother, RNLI crew member, part – time PhD student and full – time secondary school teacher. I was very honored to be asked to talk about my story, yet equally confused as to what would be of interest about my seemingly unremarkable everyday life. We all wear a multitude of hats, as women, as humans. When people get to know me better wearing and changing between these various hats and roles, I am often met with ‘wow – you’re busy!’ or asked how I successfully keep all these balls in the air. The reassuring truth is, I don’t always!

There have been days when I get up and there are tears and tantrums about brushing knots out of my daughter’s hair, trying to desperately locate a school reading book, or I find that there is no cereal in the cupboard for breakfast.

There are times when I have arrived at work and the students are challenging in their behaviour, the photocopier is jammed, there are 60 kids’ reports due by 4pm, a parent wants to talk on the phone at length and by the final lesson of the day I realise the coffee that I made at break is still half – drunk, now sat on my desk, cold.

There are times when the pager has gone off and I have made it on time to attend a shout, and times when I have missed the boat, and one time when I rushed down to the lifeboat station and mindlessly left the bath running and the back door open!

It is rarely plain sailing.

There is an idiom that has been in use since the 1940’s; ‘behind every great man is a great woman’ which implies the woman is behind the man, or that the woman, be it mother or wife, have a hand in a mans success. Although at one point in history used as a feminist slogan, this limiting narrative has long-since been perpetuated through societal norms and values, subconsciously there is perhaps still an element of surprise when a woman appears to be juggling a workload, volunteering and parenting and therefore women who appear to be ‘doing it all’ are seen as superhuman, when actually we are just doing what we have always done, however what men have done unquestionably for years….and some! Of course we all rely upon each other as a support network and our accomplishments are only ever as great as those who surround and support us, regardless of gender.

At work, the majority of my teaching timetable is dominated by art and design and design technology teaching and as a creative person I have learnt to live by a few basic principles, to always be authentically true to myself and to stubbornly never compromise on this, that there is always a positive in a negative (what we call in art a ‘happy mistake’), and just like many pieces of artwork or projects we are continuously a work in progress. I often find myself saying to both my students and my own daughter that ‘tomorrow is another day’ and I guess I say this as an internal mantra to myself too.

Brought up in Hastings, a fishing town with a shingle beach and in an old Victorian flat which overlooked the seafront, I have always felt most at home and connected when living by the coast. One of the many things that I had always wanted to do, but never actually acted upon was volunteering for the RNLI. Being brought up by the sea I had always been made aware and had respect for what the organization did and despite not having a maritime background had always had an unwavering and inexplicable desire to join as crew. I went down to Ramsgate Lifeboat station on a cold and rainy day and even though I knew I probably looked on the surface like a highly unlikely candidate, expressed my interest….a couple of years later and I am now a part of the crew.

Following my gut and chasing the things that I may otherwise have talked myself out of, or convinced myself can wait, until perhaps a more sensible time, or as something to pursue in the future, has become a new way of approaching life for me. Throwing myself at life and opportunities, even when they seem to go against common sense, or on the days when I feel tired and would quite like to stay in bed instead, showing up, embracing uncertainty and challenging adversity has added a new quality to my life, something that resembles buoyancy.

Having enjoyed the privilege of being a part of the crew for such a short period of time I do not have very many tales to regale, however there are a couple of shouts that have resonated with me.

Apart from the obvious rewarding sense of giving something back to the community, the most enjoyable thing about volunteering for me has been getting to know the crew. I have never felt more welcomed as a part of a team as I have done with the Ramsgate lifeboat crew, of all the round holes this square peg has tried to fit in, surprisingly, this has so far turned out to be the most comfortable.

I questioned what may be of interest about my seemingly unremarkable everyday life and perhaps it is the everyday itself, the multiple roles played, the various hats worn by women that is both interesting and remarkable, the cumulative effect of juggling many small acts; as mothers, in our jobs, through relationships. In 1977 the Nobel Prize winner Rosalyn Yalow, a medical physicist said that ‘we must believe in ourselves or no one else will believe in us, we must match our aspirations with the competence, courage and determination to succeed.’ A US Suffragette called Elizabeth Stanton also claimed that ‘the best protection any woman can have…is courage.’ I like to think that women sharing their stories and everyday lives with openness provides a foundation for that courage, perhaps acknowledging the remarkable and interesting in our every day lives in the various roles we assume, supporting each other as we muddle through.'

These days the RNLI crew is made up of both men and women selflessly volunteering and playing active roles throughout the charity. Funding is entirely raised from public donations in order for the charity to continue to save lives at sea. Without people like Emma, we would be unable to fulfil our role and hopefully reading some of her story will mean that the next generation will be inspired to join our teams.
Photos by Karen Cox
28th February 2020

A busy friday afternoon for the crew, education team and the fund raising volunteers when the Mayor of Ramsgate called into the station to present a cheque for £500.

The Mayor Raushan Ara, along with her Fund Raising Chairman Peter Borrough, visited Ramsgate RNLI on Friday 28 February to present a cheque for £500 to the station.

The visit coincided with a school visit,arranged by the station's Education Visits Team John and Vanessa Ray, of year 4 students and teachers from local Dame Janet Primary Academy who have chosen Ramsgate RNLI as their charity of the year. Year 3 pupils had visited earlier in the year and messages of thanks from them were shown to the Mayor. All of the classes at the school will eventually visit the station to learn first hand the invaluable work that the crew do in saving lives at sea. Educating the young is the best way of preventing accidents around our shores.

Mayor Raushan Ara said ' As your Mayor of Ramsgate, it is with great honour and pleasure, that I have chosen Ramsgate RNLI as one of my chosen charities.
This organisation, staffed by volunteers, braves all kinds of weather conditions to save lives at sea. It also helps to educate the younger generation about water safety.
Ramsgate is a seaside town, and it is vital that the people within our community are aware of the potential danger inherent in the sea. I feel that, as Mayor, I am able to give something back to my home town by raising these funds. I would like to thank all my charity members and volunteer for their help in this endeavour.'

Coxswain Ian Cannon was delighted to accept the cheque on the station's behalf in front of quite a crowd of people, including pupils and teachers from Dame Janet Primary Academy, Ron Fennell vice Chairman of the station, Sarah Hewes Fundraising Chairman, John Ray from the Education Visits Team and many of the volunteer crew.
Ian said ' Without donations from the public we would be unable to purchase essential equipment to continue our role of saving lives at sea, so we thank all of you for your ongoing support'.
Photos by Sarah Hewes
16th February 2020
Cheque presentation to the RNLI
RNLI Community Presenter and Ramsgate lifeboat archivist John Ray visited King Edward Court, Herne Bay on 14th. February where he was presented with a cheque for £1,200. The money had been raised during the past year by the King Edward Court Residents Association.

The residents had chosen the RNLI as ‘their’ 2019 charity and John had visited them at the request of Residents Association Chair Ian Devereux to talk about the charity’s work. Throughout the ensuing months the King Edward Court’s residents and staff had worked hard organising a number of fundraising events. This culminated in John being presented with a very generous cheque by King Edward Court supporter Thanet North MP Sir Roger Gale. John, on behalf of the RNLI, expressed his gratitude to all concerned.
Left to right Sir Roger Gale, Ian Devereux, John Ray
Photo by John Ray
15th February 2020
Multi-agency search for man overboard off Margate
Margate and Ramsgate RNLI lifeboats, a coastguard rescue helicopter and shore-based coastguards have carried out a search after reports of a man missing from a ship in the Margate Roads anchorage, around 2km north of Margate.

The Maltese-flagged LPG tanker contacted UK Coastguard around 6am this morning (Saturday 15 February) reporting one of its crew as being unaccounted for. He was last seen several hours previously and following a search of the ship it was assumed he was missing overboard.

A Mayday Relay message was broadcast, and a search initiated involving Margate and Ramsgate RNLI all-weather lifeboats, a coastguard rescue helicopter from Lydd Airport, a Royal Navy warship and Margate Coastguard Rescue Team.

A large area up to around eight miles offshore was searched by the sea and air units and around seven hours after the initial call a body was recovered from the sea by the Margate all-weather lifeboat. The lifeboat returned to station and the body handed into the care of local police officers.
Margate RNLI searching by Mark Stamford.
5th January 2020

RNLI Ramsgate Lifeboat is currently a Co-op Local Cause attached to the Co-op Grange Road, Co-op Funeral Care & Co-op Petrol Minster. As part of this partnership visits to the Lifeboat Station are being arranged so the Co-op staff can have a good understanding as to how the funds being raised are being used. The focus for this round are training for the new members of the crew and resources for the extensive Education programme run by our Education Team. Today it was a great pleasure for us all to welcome Jo from Co-op Grange Road to be shown around by our Visits team and meet our Mechanic Phill and Coxswain Ian.
Photos by Sarah Hewes
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 by 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.
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