Ramsgate Lifeboat
2nd October 2020
Ramsgate RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager recognised for forty years service.
Long service awards are no longer restricted to active crew members and recently Ramsgate Coxswain Ian Cannon chose to honour a long serving supporter Tony Wylie.

RNLI stations and their volunteer crew are well documented however supporting them are a small group of volunteers who dedicate their time to fund raising, running their shops, but also helping out with the day to day operations of the station. Without these people the RNLI would not be able to continue saving lives at sea.

Anthony (Tony) Wylie was recently honoured with a forty year long service award in recognition of his services in launching the lifeboat.

Although Tony was never an active crew member, he came from a family with close connections to Ramsgate RNLI, with several of his Uncle's becoming part of the volunteer crew.

He left school and started an apprenticeship to become a book binder however he wanted an outdoor life and in 1968 he decided to get a job working for Ramsgate Harbour.

By 1973 Tony was working in Port Control which is based at the end of the East Pier at the entrance to the Ramsgate Royal Harbour. In those days if there was a situation at sea, Port control would be the first contact for HM Coastguard, who would phone and then it was his decision to launch the lifeboat.

When there was immediate peril to life Tony would make the decision to fire the maroon, which was a booming rocket, originally from the end of the pier, and then in later years from the RNLI station.

Although the volunteer crews these days use pagers to be alerted about a launch, up until 2009 the lifeboat crew, who mainly live and work around the harbour, were summoned by the firing of a maroon flare, a familiar sound for the people of Ramsgate. However Port Control still to this day set off a recorded message and siren to make people around the town aware that the lifeboat is launching and to clear the way to allow the crew to get to the boats.

Although employed by the Harbour, Tony was also responsible for completing the service reports for the RNLI, listing and detailing all of the launches.

Upon his retirement from the Harbour five years ago, Tony became Deputy Launch Authority and then two years later, when Ray Noble retired, he took over as Lifeboat Operations Manager responsible for the smooth running of the station until this day.

Although the Coastguards can request the launch of a lifeboat the final decision in Ramsgate lies with Tony and in the past he has refused after considering the situation.

He has to bear in mind that the RNLI is funded solely by donations from the public and he has the responsibility to ensure the lifeboats are always available to set to sea to rescue lives.

It's a fine balance and when prior to laying cable, a survey of the seabed found armaments from World War II, a request was made by the Coastguards for a bomb disposal team to be taken out to the site in the inshore lifeboat. This was for a private company and would mean that the inshore lifeboat would be off station and not available should there be a need for it so a decision was taken to regretfully refuse the request.

Another time a buoy in the channel had come adrift and the request came through for the lifeboat to retrieve it as it may have been a danger to shipping. Having assessed the situation Tony realised that a Trinity House vessel was in the area, so asked for them to be sent after the buoy instead of launching the lifeboat.

It is his qualities of being able to assess a situation from many years of experience and remain calm under pressure that have made him such a good Lifeboat Operations Manager.

Coxswain Ian Cannon who nominated him for this reward said, ' Tony is a knowledgeable, trustworthy man and a fine Operations Manager. He has supported the RNLI for over forty years, and this well deserved award is in recognition of his service.'

The award was presented at the station, but sadly due to current operating restrictions it was a low key affair and Tony's wife, of forty seven years, Elaine and his daughter Ria were unable to attend. However that probably suited Tony who has always avoided the limelight, and dislikes making speeches preferring to work quietly in the background, something he has in common with many of our loyal volunteers.
Tony Wylie on the left being presented with his 40 years Award by Coxswain Ian Cannon on the right.
Photos by Karen Cox
24th September 2020
A busy twelve hours for Ramsgate RNLI
The volunteer crew of Ramsgate RNLI saw two launches in twelve hours to a yacht with engine failure on Monday 21 September and in the early hours of Tuesday 22 September to a collision in the busy shipping lane between a yacht and a cargo vessel.

A warm evening is always attractive for people who like sailing but with the wind dying completely, and unable to start their engine, the crew of a yacht had no choice but to drop anchor off Stone Bay in Broadstairs, to stop themselves drifting and call for help.

Ramsgate RNLI launched the inshore lifeboat Claire and David Delves at the request of HM Coastguard at 5.09pm on Monday 21 September and once on scene were able to fix a tow line and towed the yacht to the safety of Ramsgate Harbour.

Twelve hours later on Tuesday 22 September at 5.34am the volunteer crew's pagers went off again, this time to reports of a yacht in the shipping lane eight miles North East off Ramsgate near the North East Spit. The English Channel is known as the busiest shipping lane in the world and great caution is needed when crossing it.

The nine meter yacht had collided with a cargo vessel bow on and only had a solo sailor onboard. Thankfully the yacht was of wooden construction and the wood had absorbed the impact to the bow and remained afloat.

A Pilot boat, operating from Ramsgate for Estuary Services Ltd , was in the area and immediately went to the aid of the stricken yacht standing by until the lifeboat Esme Anderson arrived.

The sailor was unharmed and didn't want to be taken onboard the lifeboat. He was able to skipper the boat back to Ramsgate Harbour, where two of the volunteer crew were placed onboard to help him moor the yacht.

The Coxswain of the Lifeboat Ian Cannon said, ' Sailing is a challenging and exhilarating sport but even more so when undertaken as a solo sailor. We would always recommend that they wear a lifejacket and a lifeline at all times and carry a means of communication. Even the most experienced sailor can be caught out when on a night passage.'
Photos by Ramsgate RNLI
31st July 2020

Ramsgate RNLI all weather boat was launched twice yesterday, Thursday 30th July to the same boat.

The initial launch was at 12.30 when HM Coastguard requested them to go to the aid of a grounded yacht with five men and two women onboard that had got stuck on a falling tide in the area of the B2 Buoy. The sea conditions were calm with a gentle force 3 north east breeze so after four attempts to tow the yacht off, the decision was taken to take five of the people back to Ramsgate, leaving two to stay with the yacht which by now was on its side and wait for the tide to rise.

The Inshore and her volunteer crew returned at 17.15 when the tide was high and was able to attach a line and pull the yacht into deeper water. They then escorted the yacht back into Ramsgate Harbour.
Photo by Mark Stanford
31st July 2020

Our volunteer crew member Emma Sutton was asked by the RNLI press team to read a poem of thanks to all of the RNLI’s supporters.

This came about as Emma was invited to talk at the Royal Temple YC in Ramsgate for International Women’s Day by club member and Lifeboat Press Officer Karen Cox.

As a result of the coverage they asked Karen if she and Emma would like to work together to film the poem. So last Friday they got together at Ramsgate Lifeboat station and filmed the poetry reading on Karen’s iPhone. This was sent off to the RNLI press department at Poole, who worked their magic and today it was released on the RNLI’s social media channels.

It just proved that even with social distancing, and finding new ways of working, the RNLI can still show their heartfelt appreciation to everyone who supports them. Without the public’s donation we would be unable to continue our role of saving lives at sea,
31st July 2020

Have you ever looked closely at Ramsgate’s town crest?

The top left is the symbol of Kent the ‘Invicta’ horse, bottom left is the dolphin, showing the importance of the town as the home of the fishing fleet. Top right is the lion’s head joined to the hulk of a ship, this is the badge of the Cinque Ports. And bottom right is the golden lymhad or single masted galley. This signifies the importance Ramsgate had with the sea trade in and around the harbour.

HOWEVER on either side of the crest, are the supporters - Since 1934, the 50th anniversary and incorporation, the use of supporters were allowed and these take the form of a lifeboatman and coastguard.

Our ties with Ramsgate stretch back to 1802 when a lifeboat station was established by the trustees of the harbour, pre dating the formation of any National Lifeboat organisation by more than 20 years.

Thank you all for your support over the years.
27th July 2020
Dr William (Bill) Crawford
We all, at Ramsgate Lifeboat Station, are saddened to hear of the death of Bill Crawford.

In his working life as a GP, Bill took a deep personal interest in his patients. He knew details of their family, employment, interests and home circumstances, as well as their medical needs. Around the time that he retired from regular practise and joined the Management Committee of the Ramsgate RNLI in 1989-90, this background served the Station well for he knew many people and in particular those who were able and could be persuaded to help out when needed. In fact several of our volunteers were recruited by him.

Bill became Vice Chairman in March 1992, and was elected to the Chairmanship in May 1995, a position he held for over seventeen years, until moving house away from the area forced him to resign in October 2012. He was subsequently made a President of the Station in November of the same year.

A real gentleman, Bill never sought the limelight and worked quietly in the background, His meetings were run efficiently and effectively in a business-like manner. He earned and received the respect of committee members, coxswains, crew and fundraisers alike.

He will be sadly missed by us all.
Ron Fennell
27 /07/20
27th July 2020

On Sunday 26th July Ramsgate RNLI received a visit from Dutch yachtsman Simon Ramaekers.

Many will remember the awful day on 30th April 2018 when three visiting Dutch sailors sailed into Ramsgate to shelter from a storm. They decided to walk around the harbour to get a coffee from the Brasserie not realising it was closed.

Sadly a huge wave crashed over the harbour wall washing two of them into the water, one of whom Aad Fokker died. Simon was badly injured with a broken hip but managed to scramble to shelter where he was later rescued.

Simon has returned a few times to the station but on Sunday he sailed over with his family to present a plaque in memory of his friend which will be put up on the outside of the station for everyone to see. He was met by a few members of the RNLI who were able to share their memories of that awful day.
L- R Ray Noble, David and Simon Ramaekers and Karen Cox LPO.
News Archive
Copyright 1999-2020 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.