20th August

Sheerness RNLI ‘D class’ inshore lifeboat launched at 1525 on Thursday 20 August after reports of two men in a tiny dinghy being seen some two to three miles off the Sheppey coast in the busy shipping lanes of the Thames estuary.
The volunteer crew of the Sheerness inshore lifeboat ‘Ole Schroder’were tasked by the UK Coastguard who had concerns after reports that a small, tender type, dinghy with two people onboard had been seen in the vicinity of the busy Sea Reach shipping channel, approximately three miles NNE from Garrison Point. Launching at 1525 with a crew of 3 the ILB was initially guided towards the casualty vessel by the Sheppey Coastguard Rescue Team who were on Sheerness Beach. Having been initially visible from the beach, due to its size and distance from shore any visual sighting was soon lost. As the Sheerness lifeboat continued to search the area the UK Coastguard also tasked Southend’s Atlantic 85 Class Lifeboat to launch and join the search.
London VTS contacted an outbound ship who confirmed that they had seen the small dinghy in the vicinity of the Sea Reach 3 Buoys heading in a NW direction which would have taken the vessel towards Southend.
Southend Coastguard Rescue Team searched their area and located a dinghy matching the description and after speaking to the two occupants it was confirmed they had launched from Sheerness and they were the vessel in question.
After some strong safety advice it was decided the safest course of action would be for the larger Southend Lifeboat to bring the dinghy and its occupants back to Sheerness, rather than them make the dangerous return journey themselves in their tiny craft ion the prevailing conditions
The Sheerness lifeboat was released from the incident at 1650,arriving back on station at 1725 to be refueled and made ready for further service.
Wind SSW 4/5.