Jet skiers launch rescue flare to summon Eastbourne lifeboat

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Two jet skiers who got into difficulties almost five miles off Sovereign Harbour had to be rescued by Eastbourne’s all-weather lifeboat.

The skiers had set out from Newhaven and were attempting to reach the Sovereign Light Tower when one of the craft suffered engine failure.

Initially, the one working jet ski tried to tow the disabled craft back to Newhaven, but it quickly became evident that this was rapidly using up too much fuel to get back to safe waters.

With no VHF radio available, the jet skiers used a mobile phone to contact Dover Coastguard who launched the lifeboat which was guided by a flare launched by the skiers.

The stricken craft was taken under tow back to Sovereign Harbour while the other craft followed under its own power.

Coxswain Mark Sawyer said afterwards that it was unfortunate how these two experienced jet skiers lacked a vital piece of kit, a working VHF radio. They were lucky, he said, that their mobile phone signal was strong enough to make an emergency call.