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Pay as you go swimmers bravely take to a chilly Solent.

Lifeboats News Release

None but the most resilient would plunge into the chilly Solent at this time of year, still less pay money for the body shivering experience.

The line up of the swimmers.

RNLI/George Chastney

The cold defying swimmers.

That is exactly what happened at Gurnard today (Sunday), however, when no fewer than 23 men and women participated in a Dare to Brave It Swim in aid of the RNLI.

The event was one of the attractions at the Little Gloster Restaurant’s annual Christmas market. After each made a £10 donation to the life-saving charity, the swimmers, some wearing wet suits and others in conventional swimwear, gingerly took to the water to round two offshore buoys.

Despite the challenging 8.7 centigrade water temperature, every participant managed to complete the swim, and so earn their very own winner’s rosette.

Cowes RNLI’s Atlantic 85 lifeboat was in attendance for the event, with each crew member, including helm Neil Archer, getting into the seasonal spirit by decorating their helmets with artificial antlers.

Altogether £310 was raised from the swimmer entries and a bucket collection from the event, which was organised by crew member Andrea Vaughan.

The RNLI's presence was also apparent in the Little Gloster, with local Guild members manning a stall selling items from the local RNLI shop.

On lookers cheer on the brave swimmers.


The swim gets underway, with Cowes lifeboat standing by.
Antler wearing crew members of the lifeboat.

RNLI/George Chastney

Cowes lifeboat crew, sporting antlers.
Taken in the lifeboat, showing the helmets with antlers.


The antler adorned helmts, in Cowes station.
Stall manned by volunteers at the Little Gloster.

RNLI/George Chastney

The RNLI's stall at the Little Gloster event.

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.

Learn more about the RNLI

For more information please visit the RNLI website or Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. News releases, videos and photos are available on the News Centre.

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