Rescue boat launches a new era

16/6/12- Opening of the Pett Boathouse extension. Lord Brett McLean with David Martin of the PLRB
16/6/12- Opening of the Pett Boathouse extension. Lord Brett McLean with David Martin of the PLRB

PETT Level Rescue Boat’s dream of a bigger boathouse has become reality thanks to a massive fund raising effort by local people.

The self-funding boat and its crew play a vital role in keeping people safe along the coastline and providing important back-up to the RNLI lifeboats at Rye Harbour and Hastings.

It has even seen action inland in the past, helping rescue stranded residents at Robertsbridge during the severe flooding of 2000.

Recently it was involved in rescuing a group of young men who were in danger of hitting rocks after their dinghy had been caught in strong cross winds.

Led by fund-raiser John Pulfer, the Rescue Boat amassed £41,000 with its scheme to buy a virtual brick.

The impressive new building, next to the Smugglers pub, was officially opened by Brett Mclean (left) in a ceremony on Saturday.

The crew also have a new launch vehicle. Such a vehicle would normally cost £60,000 to £70,000 but is, in fact, an ingenious re-design of a second-hand dumper truck by Stuart Biddiss of Rye Recovery, for a total outlay of about £10,000.

The next project will be to equip the older half of the boat house with toilet and washing facilities – at present they have to ‘borrow’ them from a neighbouring bungalow – and following that they will be needing some £9,000 worth of wet and dry outfits for the crew, as the existing sets have a limited life remaining.