Hemsby's Lifeboat service returns days after weather destroyed watch tower

Hemsby beach and lifeboat stationByline: Sonya Duncan

Hemsby Independent Lifeboat's offshore rescue is back on service, but there is now a chance its vessel could become damaged when returning to the station. - Credit: Sonya Duncan

Hemsby Lifeboat's offshore rescue is back in service days after high tides and gale-force winds destroyed a lifeguard tower.

On Thursday night, crew from Hemsby Independent Lifeboat Service prevented an RNLI lifeguard tower from being claimed by the sea following powerful winds and strong swells which left the structure twisted and torn.

The RNLI tower, built two days ago, washed over by the sea at Hemsby, where the lifeboat is launched

The RNLI tower washed over by the sea at Hemsby, where the lifeboat is launched. - Credit: Denise Bradley

While assessing the extent of erosion on Friday morning, Hemsby Lifeboat announced its offshore rescue was out of action as the slipway necessary for a safe launch had been claimed by the sea.

Hemsby Lifeboat coxswain, Dan Hurd, by the work to remove the two day old RNLI tower which was wash

Hemsby Lifeboat coxswain, Dan Hurd, by the work to remove the two day old RNLI tower which was washed over by the sea. - Credit: Denise Bradley

On Monday, Hemsby Lifeboat coxswain Daniel Hurd announced the Lifeboat's offshore service was back in service. However, the newly formed shelf at the Gap has made the vessel's return to base more difficult.

Mr Hurd said: "It's now a worry getting the lifeboat back to the station because of the sharp incline left by the eroding sand.

"It's likely our boats might get damaged on return and this is just another cost to our service."

Over the weekend, donations totalling £150 were made to Hemsby Lifeboat to assist them with restoring the beach around their slipway.

Mr Hurd said it "could take months" for the beach to be built back to levels before Thursday's bad weather. In the meantime, Hemsby Lifeboat will look at getting ground mats for its slipway to ease the retrieval of its lifeboat.

A decision for the planning of a 1.3km rock berm to be built around Hemsby's coastline has yet to be made.

Hemsby beach and lifeboat station
Byline: Sonya Duncan

The newly-formed cliff edge at Hemsby Gap. - Credit: Sonya Duncan

The damaged RNLI lifeguard station had turned on its roof during the weather event. The crew from Hemsby Independent Lifeboat secured the tower before it was retrieved on Friday morning by RNLI staff.

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A spokesperson for the RNLI said: "We would like to thank the team at Hemsby Independent Lifeboat Service for its support in preventing the structure from washing into the sea.

"A combination of a high tide and strong north-easterly winds has led to unrepairable damage to the RNLI lifeguard hut."

The spokesperson added that the extent of the damage to the lifeguard tower will be accessed later this week, but lifeguards are due back in Hemsby to patrol the sea in July.