Representatives from local charity Pett Level Independent Rescue Boat gave Rotarians an insight into the valuable work they do and received a cheque to bolster their funds at a meeting held at the Cooden Beach Hotel.
Dave Martin Chair of Pett Level Independent Rescue Boat (PLIRB) and Launcher Kevin Nuttall, spoke at The Rotary Club of Senlac’s meeting, which was held on October 25.
Before becoming a registered charity in 1971 the service was operated by the local fishing fraternity. It is an independent inshore rescue boat facility, working in close co-operation with HM Coastguard and the RNLI, and is entirely dependent on donations and fundraising.
Dave says the work they do is a lot more varied than some would imagine. “Generally the work consists of helping broken down yachts, rescuing people from the rising tides, particularly from under the cliffs, and wild life rescues in conjunction with Mallydams, the wildlife centre,” he said.
“We’ve helped the RNLI search for missing children at Camber Sands and work alongside the Rye Bay Coastguard to ensure that everyone who comes to our stretch of coast is as safe as they can be.”
He added: “Surprisingly some people didn’t know that tides go in and out!”
Occasionally, in an emergency PLIRB crew work with the RNLI from Hastings, Rye and Dungeness. They were called to the Camber Sands tragedy in 2016 when five young men drowned while on a day trip from London, and in the search for a light aircraft which crashed into the sea.
Dave said: “With two boats the service can be adapted as necessary and the smaller boat can be used to assist in inland flooding, such as occurred at Robertsbridge a few years back.
“The boats are launched into the sea by tractor, a vehicle that was obtained second hand five years ago and modified for launching; it now is showing signs of distress and requires much maintenance!”
Kevin says the crew, all volunteers of mixed ages including local youngsters, are totally dedicated to the job and described them as “Amazing!”.
Senlac President Elect, Dave Miles, says he met Dave and Kevin at the Hastings Half Marathon and became very interested in their work. Welcoming them to the club, he thanked them for an interesting talk, adding: “Perhaps at a later date we should hold an auction for a ride in one of the boats, with the winning bid being donated to PLIRB.”
Dave then presented a cheque from the Rotary Club of Senlac, which operates within Hastings and Rother as a donation for their funds. Visit: http://plirb.com or www.senlacrotary.org.uk.