Cowes Lifeboat involved in ‘Floating Bonfire’ Drama

Lifeboats News Release

Cowes RNLI lifeboat played a pivotal role in a combined effort to tackle a potentially dangerous boat fire on the River Medina in the early hours of this (Monday) morning.

Night photo showing the Cowes crew at the scene of the boat fire.


The Cowes crew at the scene of the boat fire.

After launching just after 1am the lifeboat found a burning four/five metre glass fibre Dory motorboat had broken free from one of three offshore pontoons, off Medina Yard, Cowes, and had drifted on to other craft.

'The fire was very fierce, from bow to stern, and if we had arrived just ten minutes later many other moored boats could easily have been alight,” said the lifeboat helm, Mark Harker. “It was just a floating bonfire.'

The lifeboat transferred fire-fighters and Ventnor coastguards from the South Boats’ shoreside pontoon to the offshore pontoons, each in turn affected by the drifting Dory. It was then dragged along one of the pontoons, to allow fire-fighters to direct their hoses from the shore. But before the fire was extinguished two flares and the fuel tank exploded.

During the incident, lifeboat members and coastguards had worked hard to move other moored craft, to minimise the danger of secondary fires. Coastguards And fire fighters also had to extinguish a fire on one of the actual pontoons.

With the fire now seemingly out on the Dory, it was then dragged by the lifeboat to the South Boats pontoon where fire-fighters could complete their work. The Dory then sank.


RNLI media contact

  • George Chastney, Cowes RNLI Volunteer Press Officer 07530 254052/
  • Paul Dunt, RNLI Regional Media Officer (London and South East) 0207 6207425/ 07785 296252/
  • For enquiries outside normal business hours, contact the RNLI duty press officer on 01202 336789
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