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Training exercise evening turns into two real-life rescues

Lifeboats News Release

Whilst on a training exercise on the evening of Wednesday 28 September Calshot RNLI volunteer lifeboat crew were tasked to two separate incidents.

The lifeboat crew launched both our the Atlantic 85 and D class lifeboats for a short exercise to test potential new equipment and within 10 minutes were tasked by Solent Coastguard to assist one person in a sinking speedboat just off Itchen Bridge.  

Both crews immediately made haste to the incident scene. Upon arrival they found the man to be waist deep in water and that he had neglected to put the bung in the hull of his speedboat.

They inserted a temporary bung and started using the salvage pump.  The casualty was checked by the RNLI casualty care trained crew to see if any medical assistance was required.  Whilst doing this the crew received a further task to assist with a missing person.

One crew member stayed with the man and his speedboat to continue pumping and help recover the boat whilst the two lifeboats sped off to the last known location of missing person.

The report was that he had been rowing a small dinghy from shore to his houseboat when his oar snapped.  He decided it would be safer to try and return to shore.  His partner who had been watching the proceedings lost sight of him in the dark so rang 999 for the coastguard.  

When the crew arrived on scene they made an extensive search of the area and eventually found the missing man on the shore.  They gave him a survivor lifejacket to wear and then took him to his houseboat and very anxious partner to which the man said: ‘I cannot believe she called the coastguard’. 

Diane Carrier, Lifeboat Operations Manager, said: ‘Whilst the man may have been concerned that his partner called the coastguard, we are pleased they did. We would much rather someone raise the alarm if they are worried someone is in need of help, as we would rather assist than not, and there be a tragic outcome. We believe the approach of 'better to be safe than sorry' was the right one and we're just pelased he got safely home.’

After leaving the second incident both lifeboats returned to collect the crew member and the pump from the first incident then were released by Solent Coastguard and returned to station.

RNLI media contacts

· Joanne Pearson, Calshot RNLI Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer, on 07780 457731, or Peter Lewis 07745 949684,
· Tim Ash, RNLI Public Relations Manager (London /South East/East), 0207 6207426/07785/296252

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