16th April 2017
It was a night to remember for the crew of Cowes RNLI lifeboat, last night – full of frustration and challenge – when they were alerted by HM Coastguards to a speed boat in trouble.
After launching at 1.50 am they were misdirected to the Folly area of the River Medina, then told the boat was in fact further east, in Wootton Creek. There they eventually found two men aboard the 14 foot Hustler, with something wrapped around its propeller.
“We thought it must be a rope causing the problem, but instead found it was an electric cable extending from the shore to a nearby moored empty yacht, and was apparently live,” said lifeboat helm Mark Harker. “It clearly presented a challenge, to say the least, but after quite a struggle – and thankfully with no electric shocks – we managed to untangle the cable, which had also become twisted.”
The boat’s crew disclosed that earlier, after leaving the Sloop Inn with the intention of returning to their base in Portsmouth Harbour, they had also gone aground. With the Hustler now free of the cable, it was towed to the Royal Victoria Yacht Club’s pontoon at Fishbourne, where the men were strongly advised to not proceed on to Portsmouth until day-light.
The lifeboat returned to station at 3.15 am, where Mark said the experience had provided the crew with a salutary lesson. “Never assume that a line fouling a boat’s propeller is just a rope!”
Author: George Chastney, Lifeboat Press Officer