Abandoned dinghy leads to major lifeboat search for Cowes RNLI

Lifeboats News Release

The finding of a dinghy, with an outboard engine and oars attached, against a sea-wall all at East Cowes, sparked an exhaustive search by Cowes lifeboat today (Saturday)..

Lifeboat crew members disembark from lifeboat to examine the abandoned dinghy.

RNLI/George Chastney

The lifeboat crew examine the abandoned dinghy

The search, in bitterly cold winds, began at 8.29 am and lasted a total of three and a half hours; during this time the lifeboat meticulously searched the Solent between East Cowes and Egypt Point, plus Cowes Harbour and the River Medina as far as The Folly.

No-one was found, however, and eventually the four-person crew returned to station.

Investigations revealed that the dinghy had been based at Shepards Marina, alongside a yacht. It was later returned there by a Cowes Harbour Commission launch.

Back home after the massive search lifeboat helmsman Jason Hughes, said, “The wind chill factor meant that it was very cold. Now all I want is a hot drink and a hot bath!”

He said one thing they did find in the river was a motorboat that had sunk at a pile mooring. This was reported to Coastguards.

In view of the unusually long search by the volunteers aboard the lifeboat and ashore at the lifeboat station stood down from service for a few hours.

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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 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.

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