Dog Rescue Gives Patricia Much Food for Thought

20 October 2013

PatBuffet19Oct23 -

Caption:  After Patricia Legg said it with food Cowes RNLI lifeboat station said it with flowers. Also in this ‘thank you’ picture are Richard Weeks (left) and Mark Southwell.

While donations and letters of thanks are the norm, Patricia Legg decided to be more practical, by providing a substantial buffet at Cowes RNLI lifeboat station yesterday. The occasion  was a Solent district search and rescue operations (SAROPS) meeting attended by over 40 representatives of the RNLI, HM Coastguard and Hampshire’s marine police.

Patricia, who lives in Hefford Road, East Cowes, explained she had been most appreciative of the work of Cowes lifeboat since an incident in 2005 involving a rescue dog she had. “I was taking him along East Cowes seafront to strengthen him up, when he chased a seagull on the breakwater and then jumped into the sea.

“I immediately tried to wade out to him. But then he was picked up by Cowes inshore lifeboat which operated independently of the RNLI at the time. Since then I have been only too pleased to fund-raise, and I now support the RNLI through the East Cowes branch.”

As at the end of the meeting conference members tucked into appetising food stretching along three tables Mark Southwell, Cowes lifeboat operations manager, said, “It is extremely generous of Patricia. She had made it plain to me she wanted to do something for the station when it hosted such an important regional multi-agency event.”

Jointly chairing the conference were HM Coastguard’s Lee on Solent based rescue co-ordination centre manager Lee Fisher and the operations manager of the RNLI’s Channel Division, Richard Weeks. The RNLI was also represented by technical experts from Poole headquarters and no fewer than ten of their lifeboat stations along the south coast, two via a video conference link.

Subjects covered ranged from an update on Hampshire police craft, significant future operational changes within HM Coastguard including Solent Coastguards, offshore fire-fighting, and future technical improvements planned by the RNLI.

Author: George Chastney, Lifeboat Press Officer.

Leaking Yacht Sparks Cowes Lifeboat Launch

15 October 2013

An urgent message from a 35 foot yacht that it had sprung a leak led to Cowes RNLI lifeboat making an emergency dash across the Solent just after mid-day today.

The Mistral radioed Solent Coastguards that it was taking on water through the engine shaft while off Lepe Spit.

When the lifeboat arrived on the scene the helm, local boat-builder Patrick Moreton, went aboard to confirm assurances from the four-strong yacht crew that the leak was being adequately dealt with by their bilge pump. The yacht was then towed by the lifeboat to the entrance of Hamble River where the tow was taken over by a Hamble Services RIB and taken to a Hamble boatyard.

After refuelling in the River Medina the lifeboat returned to station at 2.10 pm.

Author: George Chastney, Lifeboat Press Officer.

RNLI on the Isle of Wight Was In Buoyant Form

14 October 2013

The RNLI’s good reputation and credibility on the Isle of Wight was alive and well as a result of the efforts made by stations, branches, guilds and the Inshore Lifeboat Centre, it was reported at the 151st annual meeting of the Island’s Lifeboat Board.

“Excellent press coverage, almost every week, is maintaining great respect for the professionalism of our lifeboat crews,” board Hon Secretary Lesley Myland said last Saturday at the Royal Yacht Squadron, Cowes. As far as fund-raising was concerned, the Isle of Wight accounted for nearly 50 percent of RNLI income of the six cluster groups in the south region. This was an encouraging statistic, even allowing for the fact that there was a concentration of stations etc in a small area.

The RNLI’s Business Support and Development Director Angela Rook said nationally the RNLI had its busiest summer for 24 years, with 3,500 call-outs and 14,500 lifeguard incidents. The Island’s craft were called out 96 times.

The RNLI plans to build and repair all-weather lifeboats at its own factory currently being built in Poole. “The RNLI is moving forward and meeting challenges, none of which would be possible without the support of the fundraisers.”

Tim Woodcock, the board’s Hon Treasurer, revealed in his report (he was absent for health reasons) that gross receipts during 2012 (not including Cowes Station Appeal receipts) increased by some £12,000 to £335,000 (including souvenir sales of £102,330).

Of the station reports for the current year, Michael Samuelson, Bembridge’s Lifeboat Operations Manager, said the 19 shouts so far included the challenging task of evacuating a workman suffering a minor stroke, from No Mans Fort. In addition an 81 year old Austrian woman with a suspected heart attack had to be taken off a cruise liner.

Members were very pleased with the refurbished inshore boathouse at Bembridge, opened in early June. A large display screen for the offshore boathouse was a great hit with visitors. Also now opened was the new shop.

Mark Southwell, Cowes’ Lifeboat Operations Manager, said like all Island stations, Cowes had a quieter time this year, with 40 call-outs so far. It now had 25 boat crew, and was involved in a number of non-operational events including festivals, the Cowes carnival.  Some crew members boarded Dover lifeboat to greet Natasha Lambert when she finished her cross-Channel sail. Public openings of the station were being extended.

Jeremy Willcock, Deputy Launch Officer at Yarmouth station, recalled how the lifeboat was involved in five incidents within one hour during this year’s Round the Island Race. More recently, the great value of film-footage was demonstrated when the crew of a fishing boat were rescued from a life raft after their fishing boat sank near Christchurch Ledge.

The board meeting learned that the Inshore Lifeboat Centre at East Cowes had built five Atlantic 85 RIBs and seven D Class craft, as well as refitted or modernised over 50 craft.

The Bembrdge Guild (John Gulliver) said thousands of visitors visited the new station, and an opera evening in the new inshore boathouse proved such a success that the performers want to come back. Cowes Guild (Diana Chillcott) disclosed the final sum raised for the local station appeal was £850,000 of which nearly a quarter was raised on the Island, with the guild collecting over £71,000 of this. East Cowes Branch (Helen Wilkinson) boosted its local money-raising with popular fish and chip suppers.

The board President, the Island’s Lord Lieutenant, Major General Martin White, presented a bronze badge to long serving Cowes guild member Marilyn Rose. Other bronze badges, to Cowes Guild Hon Secretary, Sandra Fussell, and Back of Wight Chairman, Michael Hammond, were presented elsewhere. Also attending the board meeting was the Chairman, Lady Sally Pigot.


Marilyn Rose receives her bronze badge from board president Major General Martin White. 

Author: George Chastney, Lifeboat Press Officer.

Leaking Boat Results in Long Spells on the Water for Cowes Lifeboat

8th October 2013


Duty called twice-over for Cowes RNLI lifeboat yesterday evening, when it was twice launched to go to the aid of a luxury motor-cruiser that had been hurriedly driven into shallow waters after springing an alarming mid-Solent leak.


When the alarm was first raised around 4.40 pm when Solent Coastguards reported the motor-cruiser, the leaking 32 foot Katraia, was near the Island shore, between Castle Point and Osborne Bay. On arrival at the scene the lifeboat found the receding tide meant the craft was now stuck hard and fast on the beach. Normally based in Wootton Creek, the motor-cruiser was carrying a couple, a young man and a dog.

The leakage was apparently caused by the failure of a pipe, as a result of a small fire which had soon died away. The lifeboat remained at the scene until the arrival of Bembridge mobile coastguard, when it then returned to station.

The lifeboat was, however, launched again at 10.40 pm to

be on hand when the Katraia, now with the hole temporarily plugged, refloated on the rising tide. When this finally occurred just after midnight the lifeboat then towed the motor-cruiser to a pontoon just inside Wootton Creek belonging to the Royal Victoria Yacht Club.

The lifeboat finally returned to station at 1.30 am – nearly nine hours after the first call-out.

Author: George Chastney



Cowes Lifeboat Races to the Aid of Three Men in a Boat

4th October 2013


 A 38 foot yacht, stranded in mid-Solent when its jib sheet became wrapped around the propeller, was eventually towed into Cowes by the local RNLI lifeboat.

The Silver Tide, with three men on board, was on passage from Yarmouth to Beaulieu when the incident occurred. As the boat began to drifting westwards in the Force 6 south-westerly the crew just before 11.30 am alerted Solent Coastguards to their plight.

Cowes Atlantic 85 lifeboat, with James Findley at the helm, was launched and found the yacht near Gurnard Ledge. Silver Tide was taken in tow, and near the entrance to Cowes Harbour the lifeboat continued the rest of the journey with an alongside tow.

The yacht was eventually delivered to Cowes Yacht Haven one hour and ten minutes after the tow began.


Author: George Chastney

NATIONAL: Our busiest Summer for 24 years

Summer 2013 will certainly be one to remember

Who can forget July’s endless heatwave. It was the warmest, driest and sunniest Summer in 7 years according to the Met Office.

When Andy Murray won Wimbledon, ending Britain’s 77-year wait for a men’s singles champion.

And the day the future king, Prince George, was born, now third in line to the throne.

But for some it will be remembered as the Summer we saved their life.

This year our lifesavers experienced their busiest Summer in 24 years.
While thousands flocked to the beaches and coasts around the UK and Ireland, our lifeboat crews and lifeguards were out helping those in trouble.

From 1 June–31 August, our lifeboats launched a total of 4,300 times – the most since 1989.
And our brave volunteer lifeboat crews were involved in a number of dramatic rescues. Including:

the rescue of 30 people from the sinking tall ship Astrid off the south coast of County Cork

the rescue of 14 people following the Super Puma helicopter crash in the North Sea.

Our lifeguards attended 14,814 incidents. In Cornwall, Mawgan Porth Beach lifeguards were kept busy looking after 1,500 people during the August bank holiday. Including the rescue of one man who really thought he wasn’t going to make it after becoming caught in a rip current.
And it wasn’t only people who got into trouble. Davina the dolphin, Luca the dog and ferrets Tootsie and Lucky were among the animals that needed our help this Summer.

Your lifesaving support

All of this has been possible thanks to the commitment and courage of our lifesavers.
But of course none of this would be possible without your support. So thank you to all our dedicated fundraisers and supporters.

Help raise awareness of our lifesaving work this Summer
Share this page and our infographic on RNLI and Twitter.

Quieter summer for Island lifeboats

LIFEBOAT launches across the Isle of Wight fell by more than a quarter this summer, compared to last year, according to figures released by the RNLI today (Monday).

There was a total of 57 lifeboat launches from the Isle of Wight’s RNLI stations in Bembridge, Yarmouth and Cowes, between June and August 2013, compared with 80 from the same three stations last year.

The large fall was not mirrored across the rest of the south east.

There was a total of 664 launches from the south east’s 23 stations, including those on the Island, compared with 686 launches in 2012, a drop of just 3.2 per cent.

The busiest station on the Isle of Wight was still Cowes, which had 21 launches in summer 2013. However, its launches have more than halved compared with 43 recorded last year.

Yarmouth had 20 launches, the same figure as it recorded in 2012 whilst Bembridge had 16 compared with 17 last year.

Andrew Ashton, RNLI regional operations manager, said: “Yet again, 2013 has been busy for our volunteer lifeboat crew members and our lifeguards. We had some really lovely sunny days this summer, temperatures in the 30s in some places, so it’s hardly surprising we were called out to so many incidents.

“Despite the small decrease in lifeboat activity in Hampshire, Sussex and Kent, overall for the RNLI it has been the busiest summer for 24 years with a total of 4,300 lifeboat launches.”

Lifeboat Exercise

Cowes Lifeboat launched on exercise last night to a rib provided by one of the station members that was three hours overdue on returning and had a hypothermic patient on board.

They first located the RIB off Osborne Bay at 1934, transferred the casualty and towed them to Cowes. The casualty was then treated for symptoms of mild hypothermia by Crew Member and Paramedic, Pete Murphy – Latham. The lifeboat returned to station at 2115.










Letter of thanks from Aberdeen Asset Management, Cowes Week title sponsors

Dear Mark,

Thank you for all your work during Cowes Week. Your expertise is invaluable to the safety of everyone involved throughout the week.

I am delighted that you could join us on Monday evening in the Aberdeen Asset Management marquee and hope you enjoyed yourself.

Thank you also for providing tours of the lifeboat station and for arranging that the RNLI crew would visit the marquee.

We look forward to working with you all again next year.

With best wishes


Martin Gilbert

Chief Executive Officer

Lifeboat Station’s Carnival Entry Became a Float Rather than Afloat

26th August 2013

Cowes RNLI lifeboat station promoted their Bank Holiday open day by for the first time taking part in the town’s illuminated carnival.

To carry out their promotion the crew borrowed a trailer-borne D class inflatable and 4 x 4 vehicle from the East Cowes-based Inshore Lifeboat Centre.  Using a shed at Shepards Wharf,  they decorated the boat with lights loaned by the Island Sailing Club and by affixing ‘waves’ to the sides made of painted cardboard.


The lights, plus suitable on-board music arranged by crewman Peter Tarrant, were powered by a generator provided by crewman Pete Cunningham.

As the float joined the procession through the streets on Saturday evening crew members, including the main organiser, Steve Price, handed out leaflets advertising the station’s open day, as well as helping to collect money for the carnival committee. Before setting off they learned their entry had won a ‘second in its class’ award. 

Partly as a result of the unusual advertising campaign Monday’s open day  was the most popular since the station opened just over a year ago. Many of the visitors were families with young children who eagerly took up the invitation to colour in pictures and participate in a written quiz.

Another attraction was the sight of the lifeboat being launched for a practice ‘man overboard’ demonstration just off The Parade. There were also many volunteers on hand to explain how boat and station operated.

Just as the Open Day was drawing to a close the lifeboat was launched for a real shout, or rather two shouts. Just after 2 pm the lifeboat was tasked to, first, deal with a 30 foot yacht aground at Thorness and another yacht that had broken down off Egypt Point . But they found that the yacht at Thorness had floated free on the rising tide, and the other boat had been taken in tow by a marine services craft.


Author: George Chastney

Photo Credit: Nick Edwards