Solent lifeboats converge on Cowes for impressive get-together
Maritime lifesavers of the Solent area brought their various craft into Cowes Harbour today (Saturday) for another annual lunch-time get-together.
After assembling in the Solent, the lifeboats processed together into the Royal Yacht Squadron marina, quickly turning the area into a riot of orange and yellow.
Leading the fleet was the Tamar class lifeboat from Bembridge, followed by inshore craft from various other stations, both RNLI and independent. The crews then made their way to the nearby Globe Hotel, where they were joined by representatives of lifeboat stations who had travelled by car or ferry.
The gathering also comprised representatives of the National Maritime and Coastguard Centre at Fareham and Island Coastguard rescue teams.
Mark Southwell, Operations Manager for the Cowes RNLI station, whose own Atlantic 85 joined in the procession, said, “Although this was an informal meeting, it also provided an opportunity to discuss how best to work together in the coming year. To this end a number of joint exercises and initiatives have been agreed.
“The event provides the only opportunity for all these rescue units to meet face-to- face. It should be stressed, however, all the crews were still ready to immediately become operational if the need arose.”
As well as the Bembridge and Cowes lifeboats, the marina line-up included craft from Hayling Island, Portsmouth, Calshot, Lymington, Gosport and Ryde. Members of the Hamble, Freshwater and Sandown stations came without their boats.
Key facts about the RNLI
The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates over 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and, in a normal year, more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.