Four crew members presented with awards

A Kent lifeboat crew has been honoured for its rescue of a yachtsman in the Swale last Septmber.

The skipper of the yacht Espirit had fallen overboard in Force 7 winds, but was still attached to the boat by his safety lines, when the Whitstable lifeboat was called.

Helmsman Jonathon Carter, 38, was presented with an inscribed vellum, one of the RNLI‘s most prestigious awards, by Canterbury’s Lord Mayor Councillor Pat Todd, after he steered the lifeboat alongside the yacht without crushing the stricken skipper.

The skipper was in a serious condition, needing urgent hospital treatment, as his teary wife remained on the yacht.

Following a five-hour rescue, the crew left the wife on board, as they took her husband to Whitstable, after wrapping him in a thermal pouch and giving him oxygen.

The lifeboat was relaunched to rescue the woman, who by then was suffering from sea sickness and shock and the yacht was towed to safety by the Sheerness lifeboat.

The yacht’s skipper was released from hospital later that night.

Crew members Tony Martin, 25, who boarded the yacht, Henry Thomson, 26, and Martin Easton, 25, were all awarded Certificates of Service.

The crew was also presented with the station’s Rescue of the Year trophy in memory of former helmsman and secretary Dave Foreman by his widow Wendy.

Mr Carter said: ‘While the award was given to me and the crew, the launchers, tractor driver and other station personnel also played a vital part.

‘It is a tremendous honour for all of us at Whitstable Lifeboat Station.’

Tractor driver Colin Young, who helped launch the lifeboat from 1999 to this year, was awarded a certificate of service for his work and a long-service award was presented to members of the fundraising branch.

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