Hardy swimmers take the plunge in icy Cowes waters

Lifeboats News Release

The ‘Dare to Brave It’ swim held at Gurnard last weekend, involving 31 swimmers, raised around £600 for the RNLI.

Picture shows the swimmers striking out for the buoy, off The Little Gloster at Gurnard.


The swimmers set off on their gruelling swim, watched by a large crowd at The Little Gloster.

The swim, around buoys off The Little Gloster restaurant, was watched by a large crowd on the shore, with the Cowes Atlantic 85 lifeboat, Sheena Louise, in attendance to provide safety cover.

“This is the third year the RNLI has benefitted from the swim, and the most successful,' said volunteer lifeboat crew member Andrea Vaughan, who organised Cowes' RNLI lifeboat’s presence. 'It was a fantastic day and the weather was awesome, although the sea temperature and the wind was chilly, which was to be expected this time of year.

'We are so immensely grateful to The Little Gloster for combining the swim with their Christmas market which included a raffle in aid of the RNLI. And people really enjoyed the turkey brioche buns, the mulled wine, petting two donkeys from the Donkey Sanctuary and the ‘Bake Off’ competition.'

Despite the strong current and water temperature (just over 7.5 degrees centigrade, 45.5 Fahrenheit), most of the brave swimmers finished the course; some of the few who did not were brought ashore by the lifeboat, helmed by Neil Archer.

One of those who found the going particularly tough was crewman Dr Will King, who ill-advisedly took to the sea in a dry suit. One swimmer was a 12 year old girl.

RNLI media contacts

  • George Chastney, Cowes RNLI Volunteer Press Officer 07530 254052/ gwight37@googlemail.com
  • Tim Ash, RNLI Public Relations Manager (London/East/South East) 0207 6207425/ 07785 296252/ tim_ash@rnli.org.uk
  • For enquiries outside normal business hours, contact the RNLI duty press officer on 01202 336789
Cowes lifeboat member Dr Will King struggles to keep up with the other swimmers, in his dry suit.


Lifeboat crew member Dr Will King attempts the swim in one of the Cowes RNLI lifeboat station's dry suits.

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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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