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Cowes RNLI lifeboat assists speedboat caught in wrong sort of current

Lifeboats News Release

It was a night to remember for the volunteer crew of Cowes RNLI lifeboat, last night (16 April) – full of frustration and challenge - when they were alerted by the UK Coastguard to a speedboat in trouble.

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After launching at 1.50am on Sunday 16 April the lifeboat crew were directed to the Folly area of the River Medina, but then told the speedboat was in fact further east, in Wootton Creek. There they eventually found two men aboard the 14 foot Hustler, with something wrapped around its propeller.

'We thought it must be a rope causing the problem, but instead found it was an electric cable extending from the shore to a nearby moored empty yacht, and was apparently live,' said volunteer lifeboat helm Mark Harker.

'It clearly presented a challenge, to say the least, but after quite a struggle – and thankfully with no electric shocks – we managed to untangle the cable, which had also become twisted.'

The Hustler's crew explained that earlier, after leaving the Sloop Inn pub at Wootton Bridge, with the intention of returning to their base in Portsmouth Harbour, they had also gone aground.

With the Hustler now free of the cable, it was towed to the Royal Victoria Yacht Club’s pontoon at Fishbourne, where the men were strongly advised to not proceed on to Portsmouth until daylight.

The lifeboat returned to station at 3.15am, where Mark said the experience had provided the crew with a salutary lesson: 'Never assume that a line fouling a boat’s propeller is just a rope!'

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/
  • Paul Dunt, RNLI Press Officer (London/East/South East) 0207 6207416 / 07786 668825
  • For enquiries outside normal business hours, contact the RNLI duty press officer on 01202 336789

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