Lifeboat will patrol River Ouse on Bonfire Night

The RNLI Flood Rescue Team on exercise
The RNLI Flood Rescue Team on exercise

The RNLI will be joining with East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service (ESFRS) and the other emergency services to help keep revellers safe at the Lewes Bonfire celebrations on Monday (November 5).

Although the charity’s lifeboats are more often seen around the coast of Sussex, the RNLI’s Flood Rescue team has worked closely with other local agencies to reduce the risk of injury to the estimated 60,000 people who will pack the town to watch the Lewes Bonfire societies march through the streets.

The specially adapted D-class inshore lifeboat is on loan from its Ipswich base and will patrol the River Ouse with two RNLI Flood Rescue crew on board and one from ESFRS.

The boat will launch at 6pm and the crew will stay on duty until 6am the next morning, ready to respond to anyone who finds themselves in difficulty in or by the water.

The D-class boat is specially designed to operate in shallower waters and to be highly manoeuvrable around the shoreline and river banks.

The Flood Rescue team is on call to attend emergencies around the country at a moment’s notice, and is making its first return to the town since the floods of October 2000.

Martin Blaker, Area Lifesaving Manager for the RNLI, said: “The Lewes Bonfire Night celebrations are a huge event in the local calendar and if we are able to contribute to people’s safety, and help prevent drowning, we’re happy to lend our support.

“We’d encourage everyone attending to wrap up warm, and to remember that alcohol and water don’t mix so please take care near the river. With so many people in the town, the emergency services will be at full stretch trying to keep everyone safe so look after yourself and your friends, and have a great night.”