Margate’s volunteer RNLI lifeboat crew have responded to a report of a person in the sea at the height of what has been the worst weather conditions in the UK for decades.
HM Coastguard received a call around 4.30pm today (Friday 2 March) from Kent Police stating they had received a 999 call from a member of the public reporting a person in the sea off Westgate-on-Sea. The caller gave a detailed description of the person and Margate’s inshore lifeboat was tasked to investigate, Margate’s Coastguard Rescue Team and Kent Police also responded to the call.
At the time there was a strong easterly wind with a heavy sea running following several days of gale to severe gale force winds, it was snowing, and the temperature was hovering around zero. Conditions under foot were atrocious with sheet ice and snow on most roads and footpaths making just getting to the lifeboat station challenging for the crew.
The lifeboat launched and in difficult conditions made its way to Westgate and commenced a search as close to the shore as the conditions allowed while coastguards ashore made enquiries. The person involved was located safe ashore, Kent Police reporting he was an extreme sports enthusiast who had ventured into the sea ‘to explore the terrible weather conditions’.
Once it was established the person was safe and well and in the company of the shore search teams the lifeboat returned to station.
Nick Smith, Deputy Launching Authority, Margate lifeboat said: “The lifeboat crew faced challenges even before they set out to sea given the adverse weather. It was understandable that the sight of a person in the sea today prompted a 999 call to the emergency services and we are grateful that they responded in that way. We strongly urge extreme sports enthusiasts to contact the coastguard if they intend to put out to sea in these current extreme conditions”.