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Busy start to Cowes Week with four shouts for Calshot RNLI

Lifeboats News Release

While preparing to launch both Calshot lifeboats for training exercises this morning (Sunday 30 July), the crew were alerted by the UK Coastguard to a number of Pan Pan calls (non urgent distress call) regarding several yachts aground on the Bramble Bank.

Both Calshot lifeboats launched to reports of vessels around at Bramble Bank.

RNLI/Joanne Pearson

Both Calshot lifeboats launched to reports of vessels around at Bramble Bank.

Initial reports suggested one of the vessels was becoming swamped due to the swell on the bank.

The D class inshore lifeboat was launched and proceeded to the bank whilst the Atlantic 85 lifeboat waited to take on a salvage pump then also proceeded to the bank.

On arrival the D class confirmed that multiple vessels had freed themselves, but one yacht, approximately 40ft long, was still hard aground. Due to the weather conditions and flooding tide on the bank the lifeboat crews decided to rig a tow to the stern of the casualty vessel and attempt to pull it clear. Once freed a crew member was placed on board the yacht to the check the hull for damage or water ingress. The yacht was then escorted towards Cowes harbour entrance and the D class returned to station.

Whilst passing the West Knoll Buoy the crew of the Atlantic 85 then spotted another 40ft yacht with no sails drifting towards Bramble Bank. Cowes Lifeboat was requested to continue with the escort of the first yacht to Cowes and the Atlantic then towed the second yacht off the bank. A crew member was placed on board the vessel and they were then escorted to Cowes yacht haven where a lift was arranged for the yacht to have its keel checked.

As the Atlantic was leaving Cowes the Harbour Master alerted the crew to a 20ft yacht run aground on the Shrape, an area of shallow water to the east of Cowes. The UK Coastguard were informed and the Atlantic then proceeded to manoeuvre into position and pulled the yacht into deeper water where it was happy to continue on its way to Cowes.

Calshot Helm, Tom Pedersen, said: 'The safety message here is make sure you are always aware of your boat's position and know the depth over charted hazards'.

The fourth incident of the day came when the Atlantic was returning to station and was alerted to a an upturned vessel with three persons in the water near Calshot. The Atlantic made best speed and the D class re-launched, reaching the casualty vessel first. It actually turned out to be an upturned jet ski with two people in the water, but both had managed to right the jet ski and get themselves back on board unaided.

Calshot Helm, Andy Headley said: 'Safety advice was given as neither person was wearing appropriate clothing for the conditions and only one was wearing a buoyancy aid'.

RNLI media contacts

  • Joanne Pearson, Lifeboat Press Officer, Calshot Lifeboat Station (07780) 457731,
  • Tim Ash, RNLI Public Relations Manager (London/East/South East) on 0207 6207426, 07785 296252
  • Paul Dunt, RNLI Press Officer (London/East/South East) on 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