SARA Receives Government Grant

Posted in Grant, News, Sharpness on January 25th, 2017 by Be the first to comment


DATE OF ISSUE:  24 January 2017

SARA is pleased to announce that it has been awarded a grant of £35,219.66 from the Department of Transport, as one of the larger allocations from the ‘Inshore and inland rescue boat grant’ scheme.   This is from the third round of funding provided under a 5 year, £5 million scheme, announced as part of the 2014 budget statement.   This grant represents a substantial contribution towards the cost of a new Launch Vehicle for the SARA Sharpness Station.

Maritime Minister, John Hayes, said:   “Every day countless volunteers in water rescue charities across our island nation carry out vital work during emergencies, not only around our coasts but also keeping our rivers, lakes and inshore waters safe.

It is imperative that we value and support their tireless efforts. I am delighted to be able to announce the latest round of funding, ensuring they have the equipment and resources they need to provide their round-the-clock lifesaving services.”

SARA Chairman Chris Crowley commented: “We are very grateful for this grant, and welcome the recognition of the valuable service which SARA provides and the cost which that entails.  This money will help us to keep the rescue boat cover at Sharpness, provided by its lifeboats and hovercraft, available in almost all tide and weather conditions.

The SARA lifeboat and rescue services, across all our stations, are being called upon more and more each year.  As well as investing in Sharpness, we were recently able to commission a new lifeboat for Newport in October, and a new rescue boat for the Wyre Forest Station at Kidderminster last weekend”

SARA is entirely manned by volunteers who are on standby 24/7/365.  SARA is not directly funded by any central or local Government agencies and depends completely on donations to fund its operations.  To donate to SARA, visit

The Severn Area Rescue Association (SARA) provides specialist 999/112 emergency services in support of the Police, Fire, and Coastguard authorities in Gloucestershire, Worcestershire, Herefordshire, Monmouthshire and South Wales.  Lifeboat services are provided on the River Severn from Bridgenorth to Bristol, and in the estuaries of the Rivers Usk and Wye.

Boats are based at Beachley (Chepstow), Sharpness, Newport (Gwent), South Gloucester, Tewkesbury and Kidderminster.  SARA also supports the Police in Missing Person searches on land, provides Swift Water Rescue support to civil authorities on inland waters and at times of flooding, and has the capability to carry out cliff and rockface rescue.

Contact for further information:

Mark Carwardine,

SARA Deputy Chairman

Official Launch of Latest Inshore rescue boat “Stuart Frost”

Posted in News, Wyre Forest on January 11th, 2017 by Be the first to comment

SARA will be having an official launch and dedication of their newest inshore lifeboat to a lost colleague and friend Stuart Frost W26, on 21st January 2017 which starts at 1pm.imgID94761644


The event will be held at Stourport-on-Severn Rowing club where there will be a short ceremony to dedicate and bless the boat, SARA 26.imgID94761697

Following the ceremony around 1.30pm there will be photo opportunities and a short demonstration of some of the ways the boats are used during a search and rescue. This can also be viewed on the bridge if safe to do so.

You don’t often get the chance to see this, so don’t miss out, book it in your diary and tell us you are coming.

LIKE Us on Facebook to get notifications of rescues we get called to and on going training.


We often get asked who and what is SARA.

SARA stands for – “Severn Area Rescue Association” and is an Independent Inshore Rescue boat and Land Search organisation covering the Severn Estuary, upper reaches of the River Severn, and the rivers Wye, Bristol Avon, Tewkesbury Avon and Usk.

We have 4 stations Beachley, Sharpness, Tewksbury and Wyre Forest. At Wyre Forest we have 3 land rover defenders, 4 rescue boats, 1 incident support unit van and 20 operational crew members ready to go supported by 30 non-operational crew. We are directly called out by the police, fire or ambulance services to emergencies requiring our specialist skills in hazardous environments.

Every single member of SARA is an unpaid professional. We are one a few charities these days who do not pay any members. All crew do this around their regular jobs and family life, SARA becomes very much a way of life for devoted crew.

SARA is the largest independent lifeboat service in the UK – not in any way linked to the RNLI (Royal National Lifeboat Institute)- second only to the RNLI, with 15 operational boats, 9 Mobile Response Units, 4 stations and approximately 150 personnel.

Official Launch of the new Newport Lifeboat SARA Lifeboat 14 ‘The Maureen Easton’

Posted in Beachley, Donation, Newport on October 7th, 2016 by Be the first to comment

On Saturday 22 October the Severn Area Rescue Association (SARA) will formally launch its latest lifeboat.
SARA Lifeboat 14 ‘The Maureen Easton’ will be Newport’s first official Lifeboat, declared as such to HM Coastguard and on call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

The boat will be based at SARA’s Newport operations base, which is located in the Malpas Fire Station, providing the City, its coastal areas and the Lower Usk with state of the art search and rescue facilities.

This new boat has only been made possible through a generous bequest from the estate of the late Mrs Maureen Easton.

It replaces SARA Rescue Boat 14, which will now be retired.  That boat was built in 1997; it served in SARA Beachley and Wyre Forest Stations before coming to Newport.

The Chairman of SARA Beachley and Newport Station, and Commander Area West, Mervyn Fleming, will lead the ceremony, together with the Mayor of Newport and members of Maureen Easton’s family.  The Newport Coxswain Rich Dainty will lead a demonstration of the new boat.

The Ceremony will be held at The Riverfront Theatre, Bristol Packet Wharf, Newport, NP20 1HG, starting at 10.00.  The lifeboat demonstration is scheduled for approximately 11.15.

About Maureen Easton:

Maureen Easton's family & SARA crew visiting the new boa being built. Sept 16

Maureen Easton’s family & SARA crew visiting the new boa being built. Sept 16

Statement from the family:

“Maureen was an amazing lady – a professional scientist, magistrate, school governor, ballroom dancer and a dedicated volunteer in the field of education. Although born in the West Midlands, she loved the sea.  In fact, past generations of our family were fishermen so this desire may be in recognition of the fortitude of earlier Eastons.  Our grandfather and father were Royal Navy Officers during WW1 and WW2 respectively.

Maureen was a sister who cared deeply about people and she said it was a privilege to care for our elderly parents at home.  She would spend many holidays in Weston–Super-Mare and her affection for this area grew stronger.  Maureen was determined to support a local organisation which saved lives at sea.  She was aware of the important role played by SARA as an independent lifeboat organisation assisting people affected by flooding.”

About The Lifeboat:

  • Built by Delta Power Group, at their factory in Stockport
  • Rigid Inflatable Boat (RIB) with a Fibreglass hull construction
  • Compliant to the Rescue Boat Code of Practice
  • Engine 50hp; Max Speed 30 knots; Crew 2 or 3

SARA 14 The Maureen Easton drawingSARA Lifeboat 14 ‘The Maureen Easton’ has a number of features specifically incorporated into the design to meet SARA’s needs, and provides many advantages over its predecessor boat:Better deck space for casualty working

  • Able to get into shallower water than Rescue 14
  • More suitable for the conditions of the lower Usk, in particular the spine of the hull is Kevlar-reinforced so more durable for beaching (e.g. during mud rescue)
  • Greater towing power
  • Small ‘A’ frame at the stern increases the height of the VHF radio antennas, to improve radio range in an area of the Usk known for its poor communications at low water, when the river runs in a deep trench;
    the ‘A’ frame is collapsible allowing for passage under low bridges at high water
  • Loudhailer for use in rescues
  • Loudspeaker relay for the radios back to the helmsman, for better crew communications
  • Engine includes a PIRs (post immersion restart) system that is designed to allow the engine to be restarted after a capsize.

Great SARA Duck Race Results

Posted in News on August 22nd, 2016 by Be the first to comment

Thank you to everyone who supported out 10th Great SARA duck race.

The winners were duck / ticket numbers:

1st prize = 677

2nd prize = 895

3rd prize = 161

We raised a grand total of £1085.

This will go to the running of our station and keeping our Lifeboats afloat and the vehicles and equipment ready for any emergency we are needed for.

2016-08-13 14.08.31

Night time rescue of a dingy on the Severn Estuary

Posted in Beachley on August 12th, 2016 by Be the first to comment

DATE OF ISSUE: 5 Aug 2016

The need for basic water safety preparations was emphasized on the night of  Wednesday last with a dramatic SARA rescue on the Severn Estuary.  Lifeboat crews were paged to an emergency by UK Coastguard at about 9.30pm: just when many of them were watching a TV documentary about the RNLI.

A small dingy had suffered engine failure close to the Old Ferry Slipway on the Severn Estuary just after dusk, and was drifting out to sea on the falling tide.

SARA’s largest lifeboat “The Jim Hewitt”  call-sign “SARA-1” was launched within 10 minutes of receiving the call.  With near gale-force winds blowing directly against the ebbing tide conditions were hazardous indeed.

The lifeboat crew used powerful search lights in likely locations based upon their knowledge of the areas’ winds and tides.  The dingy was located after about 20 minutes, on the Bristol side of the estuary not far from the M48 Bridge. It was swamped, taking on water and in danger of being capsized throwing the single occupant into the seas.  The SARA crew were astounded to discover that the man had no lifejacket, light or any means of communication.  With the dingy safely in tow, he was taken on board the lifeboat and to the safety of Beachley Lifeboat station.

Mervyn Fleming, Commander at SARA’s Beachley and Newport Lifeboat and Rescue Stations said, “This gentleman is lucky to be alive today… the night was not only dark but with the worst weather conditions  that have been experienced on the estuary for several months. That anyone should have set out into the estuary in a small craft not much larger that a child’s toy: alone, at dusk, without lights, suitable clothing, a mobile phone or even a lifejacket simply beggars belief! The crew of the lifeboat did very well to find him in the dark amongst the waves. The Severn Estuary is not the place to ‘try out’ newly acquired boats: it is one of the most dangerous areas of water in the UK”.

Richard Hoyle from Chepstow Coastguard said “without prompt action from SARA this could have turned into a tragedy.  We advise that all boats carry basic safety equipment, including an anchor and a bailer, and sufficient fuel.”


SARA’s Lifeboat and Rescue Stations at Chepstow and Newport have carried out over thirty rescues so far this year at a cost to the voluntary organisation of approximately £700 per rescue.