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Sheerness and Southend RNLI Lifeboats Assist in Thames Estuary Rescue

Written by on 5 October 2016

Volunteer crews from the Sheerness and Southend RNLI lifeboats were called to assist a craft that had run aground on the notorious Maplin Sands

The Sheerness all weather lifeboat (ALB) ‘The George and Ivy Swanson’ launched at 9.56pm on Tuesday 4 September to assist an 18 foot sailing vessel, the ‘Emma Jane’ with two people on board that was reported to be hard aground on the Maplin Sands in the Thames estuary some 11 miles off Sheerness.

The ALB reached the scene at 10.40pm and joined the Southend lifeboat which was already on the scene and had managed to put a crew member over to the casualty craft.

Coastguard Rescue helicopter 163 had also arrived at the scene and proceeded to lift the two occupants from the craft from where they were taken to Southend airport.

Due to tidal conditions it was not possible to move the craft from its position and so with an anchor laid out it was left where it was.

With conditions in the estuary worsening the Sheerness lifeboat provided safety cover for the smaller Southend lifeboat on its return passage back to base at Southend Pier.

The ALB was back on station at 11.57pm.


Earlier in the day at 3.20pm the ALB had launched to reports of a vessel sinking at Rochester.

No further information as to the size of the vessel or how many people were on board were given at the time of the call.

Whilst on route further information was received stating that the vessel was tied up alongside a mooring and that there were no people on board.

The ALB was stood down at 3.55 pm with no further action being taken and returned to station at 4.52pm.

It was later ascertained that the craft in question was the old motor tug ‘Sir Thomas Pudding’ which the crew had been called out to on a number of occasions previously.

RNLI media contacts

  • Vic Booth RNLI Lifeboat Press Officer (Sheerness) 07926904453 / 01795 880544 /
  • Tim Ash, RNLI Public Relations Manager (London/East/South East) on 0207 6207426, 07785 296252

For enquiries outside normal business hours, contact the RNLI duty press officer on 01202 336789