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Calshot’s newest recruit has a busy first week including one rescued Scarecrow!

Lifeboats News Release

Back in October, Calshot RNLI went on a major recruitment campaign and now six months later, three of those recruits have completed sufficient training to join the boat crew in responding to emergencies afloat.

Library photo showing both Calshot lifeboats at sea.


Library photo of both Calshot lifeboats at sea.

Recently new volunteer crew member Darren Taylor got a taste of things to come as he responded to three shouts in a single day!

During the current coronavirus outbreak and the ‘lock-down’ of much of life in the UK, it has been an unusual week for the Calshot crew. The station remains closed to visitors and any face to face crew training is being kept to a minimum to help prevent the spread of the virus and to ensure the station remains fully operational and able to launch to those in peril on the sea.

When Darren woke up on Wednesday morning (March 25), he had no idea what was to come that day! First off, Calshot’s Atlantic 85 lifeboat Max Walls was tasked late morning by HM Coastguard to investigate reports of a person in the water at the upper Itchen River.

Crew rallied, briefed and safety precautions taken, they were off up Southampton Water at best speed. But before long, word came back from police on scene that the ‘person’ in the water had been successfully rescued by the police launch and in fact it was not a person, but a scarecrow!

The member of the public who had dialled 999 was present to confirm this was definitely what they had seen in the water. So, all was well, apart from Darren’s pride which had been slightly dented due to his first ‘proper shout’ being for a scarecrow! Would he ever live it down with his crew mates?!

Calshot helm Tony Carrier said: ‘The call was made to the emergency services with all the right intentions. We will never try to deter a member of the public from calling 999 in the case of an emergency or a concern on the water. It’s the right thing to do!’

Back at station, the boat was readied and back on service within the hour. But the day’s activities didn’t end there. Early evening, Calshot RNLI volunteers were alerted to a small yacht which had run aground in the vicinity of Brownwich Beach, south east of the River Hamble entrance; she had been on passage from Portsmouth to Town Quay, Southampton.

Calshot’s D-Class lifeboat Willet arrived on scene to assess the situation, complete with new crew and Darren on his second ‘proper shout’.

The owner of the yacht had left the marina where he’d been berthed and had sailed in the direction of Southampton, single handed .The chilly but relieved gentleman was checked over by Calshot’s medically trained crew and kept company in the hours which followed, waiting for the tide to rise so the yacht may be pulled from the mud and towed to safety.

Meanwhile, Calshot RNLI’s third tasking of the day came at dusk. A small rubber dinghy had been making its way from a yacht moored off Cowes, to the mainland when it suffered engine failure.

Its two male occupants had been attempting to return to the mainland by dinghy when they got into difficulties. Lucky for them, with light fading fast Southampton Patrol (SP) were returning to port and had located them drifting between Black Jack and Castle Point Buoys. SP stood off the dinghy until Calshot’s D-Class lifeboat Willet arrived to assist. Everyone checked over, the dinghy was under tow back to the Lifeboat Station where it was safely recovered.

One further crew change followed as both the D-Class and Atlantic 85 lifeboats were rallied to complete the final job of the day, to get the small yacht (the second shout of the day) currently aground, floated and towed safely home.

This time it was the turn of Calshot volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer and new trainee boat crew Danielle Strawford-Jones to step in as she arrived fresh faced on the Atlantic. Tow line secured it was time to put the combined 230 horsepower to work in a controlled drag off the mud and into deeper water.

After a few minutes under gentle strain the yacht was freed. Success! With that, a now tiring Darren and helm of the D-Class lifeboat Mike Croxson returned to station.

Then it was up to the Atlantic 85 to tow the vessel to the safety of Town Quay marina where helm Jody Miles skilfully manoeuvred her alongside, then into her berth with the support of crew Matt Rawlins, Paul Sleep and Danielle Strawford Jones.

Back at the station Danielle said: ‘Throughout the coronavirus outbreak we would encourage people to keep up to date with government advice on how best to keep themselves and others safe. Here at Calshot RNLI we remain committed to saving lives at sea throughout the current situation.

It’s late, but I know when I get to my bed I will be able to rest well in the knowledge that today we potentially saved three lives at sea… and one Scarecrow’.

RNLI Media Contacts:

Calshot Lifeboat Station volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer Danni Strawford-Jones (07721) 694135 [email protected]

Calshot Lifeboat Station volunteer Deputy Lifeboat Press Officer Justyn Leonard (07540) 920678 [email protected]

Regional Media Officer, South East and London, Paul Dunt (07785) 296252 [email protected]

For enquiries outside normal business hours, contact the RNLI duty press officer on 01202 336789

Darren Taylor


Darren Taylor

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 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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Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or by email.