The Pett Level Independent Rescue Boat has been a volunteer rescue organisation for 50 years. The service was originally launched in 1970 by local fishermen who were concerned about the dangers along the local coastline. From initial rescues and plans to create a voluntary, community-based rescue team, the Pett Level Independent Rescue Boat has grown to be an integral part of this seaside community.
The service became a charity in 1982. It's run by teams of dedicated trustees, committee, trainees and crews and, just like the original team, we're all volunteers. We're tasked by Solent Coastguards and our main purpose is to respond in rescue and emergency situations when people are in danger in the water or on local beaches. At the heart of it, our mission is simple: it's to preserve life. The additional value that we, as a local service, can offer is that we also help to educate and prevent, both proactive ways to reduce risk and save lives.
You've probably heard of our local coastline. It runs between Fairlight and the notorious Camber Sands. As part of our continued work in prevention, as well as rescue, we volunteer boat patrols along these treacherous coastal areas during peak times. We also run beach safety and prevention campaigns to build awareness, not just of the hazards in the immediate vicinity, but of the risks presented by beaches, cliffs and open water generally.
The Pett Level Independent Rescue Boat teams serve all members of the community, without hesitation or discrimination. Over the last 50 years we have:
Been involved in search and rescue, including missing sea and aircraft, missing divers, missing children and inflatable crafts drifting out into the English Channel.
Rescued walkers and their dogs who have become cut off from safety due to fast-rising tides.
Rescued sea birds from oil spills.
Assisted during inshore flooding at Robertsbridge.
Provided community First Aid.
Provided safety support for vulnerable individuals.
Been involved in multi-agency incidents along this coastline.
We work with other rescue services and emergency services, including local HM Coastguard teams, HM Search & Rescue based at Lydd, RNLI services at Hastings, Rye and Dungeness. We also work with Sussex Police and Border Force, and are recognised by these services for the role our volunteers fulfil along this part of the coastline.
Although we work with this wide range of government agencies and national charities, we receive no funding. All of our running costs, including equipment, training and boathouse costs, are met through our own fundraising. We work hard to fundraise every year and always have additional costs to meet on top of our actual running costs. So every year we also run separate campaigns and projects to replace vehicles and update equipment.
In recent years, our running costs have been around £7,500 a year. However, the effects of Covid-19 are already being felt. These are now steadily rising towards £8,000 and are likely to raise beyond this, as Covid-19 continues to affect our ability to fundraise. Our community, as well as local and national businesses, are usually absolutely amazing at supporting us. Unfortunately, as gatherings and community events have been cancelled, and local businesses have closed, our opportunity to fundraise this year has stalled completely.
In 2020, our major community event, both our annual Open Day - a fundraiser with FUN built in - and our 50th Anniversary Celebration, to commemorate our volunteers past and present, have been fully cancelled. From these events we'd hoped to raise close to the minimum £7,500 running costs and - weather permitting - possibly more. In all, now's the time we need to try something different.
Because we're (mainly) an outdoor charity, the weather has always affected our success at fundraising. So joining the Weather Lottery, as an alternative to this year's community fundraising, is a fun twist for us - as well as an excellent fit! We're delighted to join the Weather Lottery and have the following goals in mind ...
If we can gain 100+ players in our lottery, we could replace the funds from our Open Day.
If we gain 200+ players, each with one or more weekly tickets, this could generate the funds to just about meet our minimum annual running costs.
If more than 250 people get involved in supporting us via the lottery, the additional funding this generates will help us to do more than just keep going - it will help us with those extra projects, to repair, replace and renew as we go.
And beyond this? The more players we have supporting us through the Weather Lottery, the quicker we will be able to revive and recreate our awareness and prevention projects.
With 2020's fundraising set to be around 95% down compared to 2019, it's almost impossible to quantify how difficult things are currently. However, what's easy to recognise is the difference every single player who supports us by playing the Weather Lottery will make.
What's additionally great is that when they join the Weather Lottery, our friends and supporters will also stand the chance of gaining some extra money for themselves too, in that weekly draw.
The Pett Level Independent Rescue Boat is one just a handful of independent rescue boats still operating around the British Isles. Please join our lottery to help us remain afloat and saving lives along our beautiful but hazardous Sussex coastline.
How it works
The Lottery results are calculated using the temperatures from selected destinations around Europe on a particular day each week.
Players are assigned 6 numbers when registering, that are then checked against the last 6 digits of temperatures in Fahrenheit that are published in the Daily Mail on the day of the draw.