A hectic day for Poole Lifeboat volunteers at the Bournemouth Air Show

Lifeboats News Release

Bournemouth Air Festival is a huge annual event and draws thousands of people to the area and some of the best viewing positions are out in Poole Bay.

With a north westerly wind 3-4 conditions were not too bad out in the bay, the sun was shining and the planes ready to fly when Poole Lifeboats departed the station at 12.30pm, Sunday (September 1).

Within 10 minutes the D Class came across a Rib near to the Bell buoy off Brownsea Castle with two people on-board, their Rib had lost engine power, the inshore lifeboat was passing just at the right time. The D Class crew secured a tow and brought them safely back to Parkstone Yacht Club.

The Atlantic lifeboat had arrived on scene at the airshow at 12.40pm, when they were flagged down by a broken down vessel with three people on-board, the vessel was not in any immediate danger and the people on-board were okay, so the lifeboat left the vessel under the guidance of the Coastguard who were going to arrange assistance.

Meanwhile, just before 3pm the D class had been tasked to assist a 23ft day boat with four people on-board, they had fouled their anchor. Two crew were transferred across, they freed the anchor and as all was well they returned back to the D Class.

Then, the Police Launch Alarm tasked the lifeboats to assist a sinking boat, west of Bournemouth Pier at 3.30pm. The 6 1/2 metre power boat with 4 people on-board was rapidly taking on water so had headed towards the beach. The D Class went alongside and evacuated the four people and their dog, they took them to the Atlantic that was standing by, the casualties were transferred across and the crew checked that they were okay, the lifeboat took them all back to Salterns Marina, the power boat was left up on the beach.

Whilst on route to Salterns a report had come through that two Jet Ski’s had collided resulting in an injury to one of the jet skiers however they had got ashore, all was accounted for and they were being treated by the ambulance team. The lifeboat headed back out to Poole Bay and the Air Show

At 3.45pm the D Class was tasked to secure an unmanned yacht that was drifting into the exclusion zone, west of Bournemouth pier, a crew member was transferred onboard and they reset the anchor, making it more secure, as they were leaving the yacht, a tender with two people on-board arrived, they had been on the beach.

An hour later, just before 5pm, a passing Charter boat had a broken down vessel under tow, the D Class was tasked to check all was okay, it was agreed with the charter Fishing vessel ‘Mistress Linda’ that they continue to take the stricken vessel back into Poole harbour.

As the lifeboat was heading back to station around 5pm they were flagged down by a 10 metre yacht with 3 people on-board that was aground on the edge of the East Looe Channel at Hook Sands, near to the entrance of the Harbour. The lifeboat crew passed a tow line across and pulled the vessel clear into deeper water, the vessel appeared unscathed and was happy to continue.

At 5.20pm the Atlantic lifeboat was tasked to assist a 47ft sailing yacht, its engine had overheated and they had broken down. The vessel with four people on-board had put their anchor down by Aunt Betty buoy in the main channel, preventing them being swept away in the strong ebb tide. A crewman was transferred across and a towline attached, the lifeboat brought the yacht safely back to a mooring off Hamworthy.

Just after 5.30pm the D Class was tasked by the Police Launch to check a vessel that had driven by the shallows and grounded at Hook Sands. The vessel with two people on-board seemed okay and they were happy to continue on passage.

Both lifeboats returned back to station after washing down and re-fueling the lifeboats were ready for service by 7.30pm after a very busy day, 11 incidents in total logged.

Volunteer Helm Jonathan Clark said;

‘With the sheer volume of vessels heading out to enjoy the Airshow, it was inevitable that things might not go to plan, coupled with a very strong ebb tide at the end of the airshow, it made for very tricky conditions getting back in the harbour’

Poole and district Fundraisers were also out in force with Stormy Stan and Sgt Bob Bear meeting and greeting visitors during the air show and hopefully selling lots of RNLI souvenirs on the Promenade at the airshow, raising the funds to help keep are boats afloat and there when we are needed.


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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 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and 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.

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