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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/
  • Tim Ash, RNLI Public Relations Manager (London/East/South East) 0207 6207425/ 07785 296252/
  • 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.

Key facts about the RNLI

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is the charity that saves lives at sea. Our volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service in the United Kingdom and Ireland from 238 lifeboat stations, including four along the River Thames and inland lifeboat stations at Loch Ness, Lough Derg, Enniskillen, Carrybridge and Lough Ree. Additionally the RNLI has more than 1,000 lifeguards on over 240 beaches around the UK and operates a specialist flood rescue team, which can respond anywhere across the UK and Ireland when inland flooding puts lives at risk.

The RNLI relies on public donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. As a charity it is separate from, but works alongside, government-controlled and funded coastguard services. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824 our lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved at least 140,000 lives. Volunteers make up 95% of the charity, including 4,600 volunteer lifeboat crew members and 3,000 volunteer shore crew. Additionally, tens of thousands of other dedicated volunteers raise funds and awareness, give safety advice, and help in our museums, shops and offices.

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Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 or by email.


The RNLI is a charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SC037736). Charity number 20003326 in the Republic of Ireland