SOS Day – Saturday 1st February 2014

 Lifeboat Station Open Day

SOSTWITGRAPHIC#Come down and visit us on Saturday 1st February from 10am until 4pm. It’s free and fun for all the family!

  • Meet the RNLI Lifeboat Crew.
  • Take a tour and find out how our lifeboat station works.
  • Enjoy tea and cakes whilst enjoying a stunning view of the Solent.
  • Take the ‘get your kit on’ challenge.
  • Activities for children of all ages!


  • Meet the firemen from Newport Fire Station and take a look at the firetruck.
  • Talk with HM Coastguard about coastal safety.

Tug o’ War – 12pm – The Parade, Cowes
Challenge the RNLI Crew to Tug o’ War!

Come down to The Parade and enter before 1145.

Watch the fire service, HM Coastguard and many more go ‘head to head’ with the RNLI crew in this exciting test of strength and stamina!

Murrays Restaurant 

Open all day supporting our Lifeboat Station. Come along and enjoy light refreshments:

Soup o Sandwich – £5.50
Tea & Coffee – £2

106 High Street, Cowes.

RNLI Shop open all day


Cowes Lifeboat in Night-Time Search off East Cowes

10 January 2014

Patrick Moreton, Helm

A thorough search in pitch darkness was carried out by Cowes RNLI lifeboat in the early hours of this (Friday) morning after a report that someone  could be in difficulties in the sea off East Cowes.

A resident living near the breakwater told Solent coastguards they had heard noises and possibly also saw a light, suggesting someone could be in trouble on the water. The lifeboat was launched just before 4 am, with Patrick Moreton in charge.

Neil Archer drove the boat while Alisdair Boden and Will King handled the starboard and port searchlights. Meanwhile the Bembridge-based mobile coastguards and police officers searched the shore.

After an hour of fruitless searching lifeboat eventually returned to station. It was then concluded that the noise had emanated, not from the water, by from someone on the shore.

Author:  George Chastney, Lifeboat Press Officer (LPO).

Two Lifeboats Respond to Crippled Yacht Emergency

22 December 2013

Both Cowes and Yarmouth lifeboats raced to the rescue of a crippled motor-sailor on Saturday evening, drifting on a gale-swept Solent and in danger of being run down by a cruise liner.

The brand new 43 foot ketch, Fin Lady, with three adults and a child on board, had set out from Hamble for Cowes in a challenging force 7-8 south-westerly and a choppy sea. The Solent crossing, however, proved even more testing than they had bargained for when, first their engine failed off Cowes, and then their storm jib was ripped away.

As the boat was swept eastwards Solent Coastguards alerted the RNLI’s Cowes-based Atlantic 85 and Yarmouth’s all weather Severn class lifeboat to the emergency. They also ensured a warning was communicated to the cruise liner Balmoral that the boat could drift into its path.

Cowes lifeboat, launched just before 6 pm, was first to reach the Fin Lady, near Prince Consort Buoy. The helm, Scott Armiger, decided that Heather Boden, a very experienced sailor, should go aboard to assess the situation. Then the lifeboat was successfully taken in tow and Yarmouth lifeboat and its much more powerful pulling power was not needed after all and could turn back to Yarmouth.

The Fin Lady was taken to a river mooring at the Folly, and Cowes lifeboat returned to its station soon after 7 pm.

Author: George Chastney, Lifeboat Press Officer.

High Sheriff Meets Lifeboat Radar Recipients

High Sherrif Mary visit
Mary is pictured with some of the certificate recipients and other station members.

Mary Case, the Isle of Wight’s High Sheriff, had a special task to perform when she visited the RNLI’s Cowes lifeboat station: presenting radar certificates.

Altogether 18 crew and non-crew members had successfully undergone an intensive radar course, spread over four days. The course involved personnel from the RNLI’s Poole headquarters bringing radar equipment to the station.

Mark Southwell, the station’s operations manager, said, “The fact that as many as 18 people undertook the course is a demonstration of the enthusiasm there is within the station for improving maritime skills. Radar is obviously a most useful aid to navigation, particularly in the dark or fog.”

Author: George Chastney, Lifeboat Press Officer.

Photo Credit: Nick EdwardsLifeboat Training Coordinator.

Cowes Lifeboat in Solent Fishermen Drama

Two sea anglers were rushed back to shore by Cowes RNLI lifeboat this morning after being pulled exhausted from the sea beside their capsized fishing boat

The lifeboat, with Max Rimington at the helm, was initially launched just after 10 am in response to a report of what appeared to an on-shore eye-witness to be an upturned kayak in the Solent.

The capsized craft, the 12 foot Min Eve, was first located by the Cowes Harbour Commission launch, HM 1, near West Bramble Buoy, with one man clinging to the hull and another holding on to a trailing rope. Both were lifted on board and the harbour launch helm, Dave Lewis, was so concerned about their condition that he urged Cowes lifeboat to lose no time in providing assistance.

After being transferred to the lifeboat the men, both believed to be aged over 50 and now wrapped in survival bags, were rushed to Town Quay, Cowes; there they were met by members of the Needles coastguard rescue team and a paramedic from an ambulance which was to take them St Mary’s Hospital, Newport. Meanwhile the upturned fishing boat was towed back to Cowes by the harbour launch, where it was eventually righted and pumped out by the lifeboat crew, whose helm was Max Rimington.

As well as working for the Cowes Harbour Authority, Dave was also the launch authority for the day for the lifeboat. “The men had been in the water for over half an hour, and were starting to suffer from the cold quite badly when we arrived,” he said. “One was diabetic and neither was wearing lifejackets. I was very relieved that the lifeboat joined us on the scene so quickly.”

Lifeboat Operation Manager Mark Southwell learned later that both were making an encouraging recovery in hospital.

A Solent Coastguard spokesman said they were alerted to the emergency by two 999 calls from people on the shore at Gurnard and Lepe. Explaining what happened aboard the Min Eve, the spokesman said:  “The men overbalanced and ended up in the water when trying to pull up the anchor. At first there was some confusion over the location on the boat.”

A message was left on the Cowes RNLI Facebook page from a Kerry Hatch:

“I just wanted to say a massive thank you to the Cowes RNLI team from myself, brother, my mum and nan. As the guys you saved yesterday morning are my Dad and Grandad! If it wasn’t for you we would have lost them both, we wouldn’t have coped! So really there aren’t the words to explain how grateful we are that you were there.”
Mark Southwell, Lifeboat Operations Manager, told the crew that if anyone saves just one life in their lifetime they have achieved a lot.

The two anglers are met at Town Quay by coastguard and ambulance personnel.
The two anglers are met at Town Quay by coastguard and ambulance personnel.
The capsized boat is re-righted by lifeboat crew prior to pumping out.
The capsized boat is re-righted by lifeboat crew prior to pumping out.


It Was Business Not As Usual at Cowes Lifeboat Station


25 November 2013

Caption to photo: Pictured left to right are: Cowes lifeboat chairman David Hembury, Hugh Robotham, Anna Morgan Crockett, Mike Cox and his wife Sue.

The link between Cowes businesses and the local RNLI was strengthened when the lifeboat station hosted the first networking evening staged by Cowes Business Association.

The evening was organised by station administrator Penny Maclean. “We wanted to run something for the local business community,” she said. “And hearing of their plans to hold their first event enabling members to network between themselves we suggested their first meeting should be here.”

In welcoming over 30 traders to the station, deputy launch officer Hugh Robotham said the charity was very grateful to those businesses that found room for the charity’s collection boxes and special event posters in their windows.

Association committee member Mike Cox explained that lot of local businesses don’t know what other businesses in the area could offer. Hopefully through networking meetings they would address that problem, to the benefit of everyone. He thanked Cowes RNLI for hosting the first network event. Association chairman Maddie Dobson said she hoped more businesses in the Cowes area would join the organisation.

Light refreshments were provided by local RNLI Guild members, whose chairman, Anna Morgan Crockett said they would be happy to provide more collection boxes to anyone who asked.

Author: George Chastney, Lifeboat Press Officer.

Cowes Lifeboat Involved in Night-Time River Drama

2 November 2013

A graphic account of a life or death search for an inebriated 52 year old man who had plunged into the River Medina at Cowes in the early hours of this morning was given by a member of the local RNLI lifeboat.

The lifeboat was launched shortly before 2 am after the alarm was raised by the man’s daughter. She and her father had intended to take the floating bridge from Cowes to East Cowes, only to find it had stopped for the night. The father then decided to swim to the other bank, but the daughter had no indication that he had succeeded.

The lifeboat, with Neil Archer at the helm, was soon on the scene, and with the aid of its powerful searchlights began a thorough search. “We firstly searched the area of the chain ferry without success, and spread further along the banks,” said crewman Will King.

“Then someone on the Cowes shore said they thought they heard vague moaning noises and cries for help from further down-river on the east bank. We found no-one underneath the Red Funnel vehicle jetty; then Chris Cockroft and myself heard cries coming from Venture Quay.

“There we saw a man wandering about, thoroughly soaked to the skin and shivering. He stank of alcohol and could hardly talk except to say over and over again ‘Sorry, sorry – sorry for the inconvenience’. He apparently had managed to cling to the quay jetty and pull himself up. ”

Will, who is a hospital doctor, tried to warm him up as the lifeboat rushed him to Trinity Landing at Cowes, There shore-based coastguards were waiting to assist in his transfer to a waiting ambulance and take him to St Mary’s Hospital, Newport.

“He was very lucky there was only a half-knot ebb tide flowing in the river at the time,” said Will. “Anything stronger and he would have been pushed out to sea and we would have just been talking about body recovery.

“After our search, which perhaps lasted ten minutes, it was such a relief to find that against real odds the man had survived.


Caption: Lifeboat crew member, Dr Will King.

Author: George Chastney, Lifeboat Press Officer.

Photo Credit: Nick Edwards, Lifeboat Training Coordinator.

Yarmouth and Cowes RNLI lifeboats in Joint Rescue Dash.

29th October 2013


Photo caption:  Challenger III, finally free from its grounding – with Yarmouth and Cowes lifeboats in attendance.

In the morning of 29th October the Yarmouth lifeboat, the Eric and Susan Hiscock (Wanderer) and Cowes lifeboat, Sheena Louise were called to assist the Tall Ships Youth Trust 72ft yacht, Challenger III. She had run aground on Gurnard Ledge just west of Cowes.

It was imperative than the yacht was re-floated as quickly as possible as there was potential for serious damage if the weather had deteriorated. The smaller Cowes lifeboat was able to approach the yacht more closely than the Yarmouth boat. They took a line to the top of the mast and pulled the yacht over on to her side while the powerful Yarmouth lifeboat established a tow and pulled her off. The whole operation took only half an hour and major damage was averted. No one was injured.


Caption: Challenger III being towed off of Gurnard Ledge by the Yarmouth Lifeboat.

Author: Richard Heming, Yarmouth Lifeboat Press Officer.

Photo Credit 1: George Chastney, Cowes Lifeboat Press Officer

Photo Credit 2: Yarmouth RNLI.

Six Lifeboat Members Pass Demanding External Examination

28th October 2013

Day Skipper Group-4631

Caption: James Stevens (centre) with some of the recipients of the RYA Day Skipper certificates and other members of the station.

Praise for the six volunteer crew of Cowes RNLI lifeboat for giving up much of their spare time to achieve the coveted Royal Yachting Association’s Day Skipper Theory Certificate was voiced at a ceremony at the station.

The certificates were presented by James Stevens,  chairman of the RYA’s Certification Panel. He declared it was great that Cowes lifeboat members had recognised the value of studying for this nationally respected qualification, and recalled that the recently-retired RNLI operations director, Mike Vlasto, had encouraged such close working with the RYA.

“And having travelled around the world I can say that the RNLI is easily the best lifeboat service in the world,” he said. “The best qualified and the most active.”

Congratulating the certificate recipients, Mark Southwell, Cowes lifeboat operations manager, said: “Although our crew were already qualified to man the lifeboat, this very extensive course adds further to knowledge of seamanship and navigation. This can only benefit these six members in their RNLI roles. Studying for this examination required them to attend an evening class once a week for the past six months.

“Congratulations should also go to their instructors; the fact that these came from within the station demonstrates the high and wide level of knowledge we have here.”

The three station members involved in running the course were: Richard Parr, Harry Leslie and Nick Edwards.

The successful Day Skipper six were:  Will King, Andrea Vaughan, Willoughby Matthews, Neil Archer, Sandy Steen and Tony Harris.

Author: George Chastney, Lifeboat Press Officer.

Photo Credit: Nick Edwards, Lifeboat Training Coordinator.

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.