Passengers evacuated from broken down boat by Chiswick RNLI lifeboat crew

Lifeboats News Release

At 3.25pm on Wednesday 10 August 2016 London Coastguard asked Chiswick RNLI lifeboat crew to evacuate 11 passengers from the passenger boat 'Cockney Sparrow' which had broken down in Barnes.

A few minutes after launching, the lifeboat vrew arrived to find the Cockney Sparrow safely anchored in the centre of the navigation channel downstream from Barnes Railway Bridge.

The crew helped the 11 passengers into the lifeboat and took them to Chiswick Pier, half a mile away. The lifeboat then returned to tow the Cockney Sparrow back to Chiswick Pier where it awaited a commercial tug.

RNLI Helmsman Andy Mayo commented ‘As the vessel had anchored, the passengers were in no immediate danger, but we were able to take them off quickly to safety on the shore so that they weren’t stranded for several hours until a commercial tug could reach them. By towing the vessel to a mooring were also able to remove a potential hazard to navigation.

The Cockney Sparrow is one of four passenger boats running a regular summer service from Westminster to Hampton Court via Kew and Richmond. It was built at Eel Pie Island in Twickenham in 1976.

Notes to editors

•     The RNLI has 237lifeboat stations including four on the tidal River Thames. Chiswick RNLI lifeboat became operational on the 2nd January 2002. Since then it has responded to over 2,900 emergency calls.

•     The four Thames lifeboats together have responded to over 6,000 calls. To learn more about the lifeboat station go to  or

•     The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and Government and is entirely supported by voluntary contributions.

For more information or photos contact David Clarke, RNLI Volunteer Press Officer on 0795 121 0500​

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The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates over 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and, in a normal year, more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.

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