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


Couple’s Luncheon Date Proved Too Hard to Swallow

22nd August 2013

A simple crossing of the Solent for a family lunch proved to be a voyage too far for one couple today, resulting in them having to call on the help of Cowes RNLI lifeboat.

Mr and Mrs R Nash, of Southampton, had set out from Hamble with the intention of meeting up with their son for lunch at the Folly on the River Medina, between Cowes and Newport. But while motoring past the Bramble Bank their yacht, the 29 foot Naviga, suffered engine failure.

To add to their frustration they were unable to hoist their mainsail, and the headsail proved inadequate for their boat to fight against the tide in the light easterly wind. By the time the lifeboat reached the yacht it had drifted to off Egypt Point, Cowes.


After lifeboat crewman Stuart Higgs had gone aboard to attach a line the Naviga was towed to Cowes Yacht Haven where it was lifted on to the shore for repairs. The lifeboat, helmed by Laurie O’Callaghan, was launched at 1.45 pm and was off-station for just over an hour.



Author: George Chastney.

Cowes Lifeboat Refloats Grounded Yacht

A 40 foot sailing yacht with four people aboard had to use the expertise of Cowes RNLI lifeboat’s crew after going aground on rocks in the Western Solent this afternoon.

The yacht, Fair Return, had radioed Solent Coastguards it had gone aground at Salt Mead Ledge, off Newtown. After launching at 1.45 pm the lifeboat was soon on the scene, and proceeded to use the yacht’s spinnaker halyard to pull it over to the starboard to lessen its deep draught.

The Fair Return was then able to then free itself and motor free of the danger, apparently undamaged.

The lifeboat, helmed by Max Rimington, with a crew of Richard O’Callaghan, Andrea Vaughan and Robbie Southwell, returned to station at 2.55 pm.

RNLI at V-Dub Island

Crew members of Cowes RNLI have been ‘exhibiting’ at V-Dub Island in Northwood, the annual event for Volkswagen campers. They have been giving out free Sea Safety advice, fundraising, running the ‘Get your kit on’ event and much more!








Next Open Day

The next open day is on Monday 26th August from 10 until 2 at Cowes Lifeboat Station. Come and have a look at our station, kit, lifeboat and much more. All are welcome.

For more information, please contact Steve Price, Lifeboat Visitor Officer (LVO) at cowes@rnli.org.uk

Cowes Lifeboat in Night-Time ‘Shout’ to RIB

Plans by a man to take a RIB from Hamble to Cowes last (Sunday) night ran into trouble when the craft broke down at the mouth of Southampton Water.

Alerted to the emergency by Solent Coastguards, Cowes RNLI lifeboat launched at 9.20 pm and was at the scene 11 minutes later. It was discovered the RIB, with only the man on board, had lost propulsion through gear box failure.

The craft was towed to Cowes.

Author: George Chastney