Safety Concerns over Woman Sparks Major Solent Search

9th February 2021

Cowes lifeboat arrives off the Fishbourne terminal to begin its Solent search.

A full-scale air, sea and shore search was mounted in challenging wintry conditions at lunch-time today (Tuesday) over fears that a 30 year old woman might have disappeared overboard from a car ferry.

After reports that although the woman bought a ticket at Wightlink’s Fishbourne car ferry terminal it was believed she was not among the passengers who disembarked at Portsmouth.

Cowes RNLI lifeboat was launched just before 2pm to take part in an extensive search of the Solent, where the choppy sea was whipped up by a strong and bitterly cold easterly wind.

Also involved in the search were Ryde and Gosport independent lifeboats, Portsmouth lifeboat and the Lee on Solent coastguard helicopter. Meanwhile coastguard teams from Bembridge, Ventnor and Portsmouth were tasked to investigate the relevant shorelines.

Eventually the search was called off after police concluded that, contrary to what was first believed, she had after all disembarked at Portsmouth.

Cowes lifeboat returned to station just before 4 pm.

Personal Belongings Spark Major Solent Search

31st January 2021

Cowes RNLI lifeboat was part of an extensive search in darkness, lasting many hours, of a man whose personal belongings were found on the beach at Browndown, near Gosport on Saturday.

After the police requested the search, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency triggered a call-out of the RNLI lifeboats at Cowes and Calshot, the independent lifeboat at Gosport and the Lee on Solent based coastguard helicopter. In addition, the Hampshire shore was searched by coastguard teams from Portsmouth and Hillhead.

Cowes lifeboat was launched twice, first at 7.30 pm and again, with a fresh crew, two hours later.

But nothing was found by any of the searchers.

Then on Sunday Cowes lifeboat was tasked to attend an *incident in the harbour, launching at around 5 pm and returning to station about an hour later.

*Please refer to Hampshire Police for details of this incident.

Distress Flare Sparks Night-Time Solent Search

13th December 2020

Cowes Lifeboat launching to search

A red parachute distress flare, spotted by a fisherman on the Hampshire shore, at Hill Head, resulted in an extensive two-hour land and sea search of the Solent, in pitch dark, during the early hours of this morning.

Rather unusually, the fisherman’s emergency message to Coastguards was backed up on his mobile phone with a video of the flare.

Both Cowes RNLI lifeboat and the Ryde independent lifeboat were tasked for the search, together with the Ventnor coastguard team.  

The search patterns for the two lifeboats, with Cowes on the left.

Using their powerful onboard searchlights, the two lifeboats painstakingly searched an area of the Solent between Woodside Bay, Wootton and Osborne Bay. Where there was sufficient water because of the very low tide, Ryde lifeboat also searched Wootton Creek.

Meanwhile the relevant Solent and creek shoreline was searched by the coastguard team.

Eventually the whole search was called off, with nothing found. Cowes Lifeboat, which had launched at 1.50 am, returned to station two hours later.

Missing Jet-Ski Brother Sparks Major Solent Search

11th November 2020

The growing concern of a man for his missing brother sparked a land and sea search of the Solent and Southampton Water area last (Tuesday) evening, of which Cowes RNLI lifeboat was just one of the searchers.

HM Coastguards had received a phone call from the ‘very distressed’ man who had come ashore at Princes Green, Cowes, stating that he and his brother had both taken to the water in Southampton with jet-skis. Now he just had no idea about the whereabouts of his brother, and was increasingly worried for his safety.

Cowes lifeboat launched at 5.45 pm, to carry out a search in the fading light between Lepe and Calshot; also involved were Calshot RNLI lifeboat, together with land-based coastguard teams from both sides of the Solent, plus the police.

Eventually, at 6.14 pm, the jet-ski was found moored alongside a fishing boat, with the missing man aboard, safe and well. Both man and his jet-ski were then taken by Cowes lifeboat back to the brothers’ point of departure, in the River Itchen.

Cowes lifeboat returned to station at 8.30 pm.

Cowes Lifeboat Races to Rescue Drifting Fishermen

29th October 2020


The Cowes RNLI lifeboat crew ensured that two-men aboard a powerless fishing boat did not have to linger long in a wind-swept shipping lane this afternoon.

The boat had suffered engine failure in a Force 6-7 south-westerly and was drifting on the tide in the Solent, one mile north-west of Cowes Harbour. This was an area where commercial shipping took a sharp turn at speed.

Fortunately, the lifeboat reached them well before any ships passed through, and towed their boat to the safety of Trinity Landing.

The lifeboat which had launched just after 2.30 pm, was soon back at the station. “Job done in just 45 minutes,” said an appreciative station operations manager, Mark Southwell.

End

Cowes RNLI Sends Bon Voyage Messages to Brave Natasha

10th October 2020


Goodwill messages from Cowes RNLI lifeboat station have been sent to quadraplegic cerebral palsy sufferer Natasha Lambert, as she helps crew a specially adapted yacht for a gruelling crossing of the Atlantic.

The 3,000-mile crossing from Gran Canaria to St Lucia, aboard the yacht Blown Away, is to raise £30,000, to be divided between three charities: the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust, the MissIsle School of Sip Puff Sailing, and Cowes RNLI.

Natasha, who lives near Cowes, has already won wide-spread admiration for using a sip and puff control system designed by her father to control a boat on various feats of endurance.

A message from Cowes station’s operations manager Mark Southwell states, ‘First the Solent, then round the Island, followed by across the Channel.  Now this….

‘Lifeboat crews well understand what it takes to be at sea, and we have nothing but admiration for you and your crew. Safe sailing, Tash, and fair winds!’  

A general message from the station reads: ‘Everyone at Cowes RNLI sends a heart-felt bon voyage message to you as you set off on your biggest maritime challenge to date.

‘The station is honoured to again to be chosen as a beneficiary of your wonderful fund-raising. Already we are most grateful for the money raised from your past amazing exploits on the sea, which paid for the station’s kitchen and the extra-large TV screen used for training purposes.

‘Be sure all of us at the station will eagerly follow your progress.

‘May you and your fellow-crew members complete the crossing both safely and enjoyably!’

Lifeboat Responds to Concerns Over Windsurfer

9th October 2020

A windsurfer spotted by on-lookers to be off his board and apparently struggling in the sea off Gurnard led to the launching of Cowes RNLI lifeboat this evening.

People ashore raised the alarm after seeing that the man had come off his board and seemed to be in difficulty as he drifted westwards in the tide.

After launching at 4.15 pm the lifeboat crew, however, found he had in fact managed to swim close to the beach at the Little Gloster without assistance; they then merely stood by as a precaution until reached the shore – bringing the surf-board with him.

The lifeboat returned to station at 4.40 pm.  

Abandoned Dinghy Leads to Massive Lifeboat Search

26th September 2020

The finding of a dinghy, with an outboard engine and oars attached, against a sea-wall at East Cowes, sparked an exhaustive search by Cowes lifeboat today.

The search, in bitterly cold winds, began at 8.29 am and lasted a total of three and a half hours; during this time the lifeboat meticulously searched the Solent between East Cowes and Egypt Point, plus Cowes Harbour and the River Medina as far as The Folly. 

No-one was found, however, and eventually the four-person crew returned to station.

Investigations revealed that the dinghy had been based at Shepards Marina, alongside a yacht. It was later returned there by a Cowes Harbour Commission launch.

Back home after the massive search lifeboat helmsman Jason Hughes, said, “The wind chill factor meant that it was very cold. Now all I want is a hot drink and a hot bath!”

He said one thing they did find in the river was a motorboat that had sunk at a pile mooring. This was reported to Coastguards.

In view of the unusually long search by the volunteers aboard the lifeboat and ashore the lifeboat station stood down from service for a few hours.

VIDEO: Cowes Lifeboat Responds to Motorboat in Triple-Trouble

25th September, 2020

Three men aboard a 25-foot motorboat who experienced trouble, three times, over on a wind-swept Solent this afternoon were saved from more serious problems by Cowes RNLI lifeboat.

First an electrical fault put the engine out of action in a Force 7 north-westerly between East Cowes and Fishbourne, then deployment of the boat’s two anchors failed to prevent the craft being driven closer to the rock-strewn shore. 

A crew member alerted both Coastguards and Cowes lifeboat’s Station Manager, Mark Southwell, of their plight. 

After launching at 2.15 pm the lifeboat was soon on the scene and took the motorboat in tow for Cowes Harbour. There it was given shelter by Shepards Marina, and the lifeboat returned to station at 3.25 pm.

It was the second tow-in performed by Cowes lifeboat this week. On Wednesday it went to the aid of a 30-foot yacht struggling to make headway a mile west of Cowes. 

Although initially Calshot RNLI’s D Class lifeboat had first spotted the problem, its crew decided Cowes’ more powerful Atlantic 85 lifeboat was best suited for the rescue. The yacht, on passage from Yarmouth to Cowes, was taken into Shepards Marina. Coincidentally both Calshot and Cowes lifeboat were already afloat at the time of the emergency, undergoing training/assessment exercises

VIDEO: Cowes Lifeboat Goes to Aid of Rock Damaged Motorboat

20th September 2020

A crippled motorboat carrying three men that was being pushed on to rocks at East Cowes last (Saturday) night became the focus of the latest rescue operation by Cowes RNLI lifeboat.

The Hamble-based 19-foot motorboat had apparently carried the men to various locations on both sides of the Solent before they ran into serious engine trouble near Castle Point, East Cowes. 

Having launched just before 11 pm, the lifeboat found the 33-year-old owner cold and wet from jumping into the sea in an effort push the powerless boat away from rocks.

After towing the motorboat clear of the hazardous shore the lifeboat carried out an alongside tow to Trinity Landing. There the owner was quickly provided with a blanket from the lifeboat station. Also at Trinity Landing were members of the Ventnor coastguard team.

The lifeboat returned to station just after midnight. 

Lifeboat helm, Myles Hussey, said, “We got as close to the East Cowes shore as we could before one of our crew, Mark Crook, jumped into the water and took a tow line across to the motorboat.

“The men had been unable to start their engine because the key had broken in the ignition,” said Myles. “We also found that the boat had suffered damage to the port bow and propeller.”