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‘Missing Swimmer’ Concerns Spark Late Night Sea Search for Cowes RNLI

Lifeboats News Release

An extensive search in the eastern Solent involving three RNLI lifeboats, a coastguard helicopter and a land-based coastguard team, took place late last Friday night (20 August) after fears that a swimmer was missing off East Cowes.

Stock photo of the Cowes Atlantic 85 lifeboat at sea.

RNLI/Nick Edwards

Stock photo - the Cowes Atlantic 85 lifeboat.

The alarm was raised after a woman in a very exhausted state was helped out of the water at East Cowes, near the Albany Road junction, by an off-duty paramedic, and eventually taken by ambulance to St Mary’s Hospital, Newport.

As at the time items on the beach possibly indicated a second person could also have been in the water, a thorough search was triggered.

Cowes RNLI lifeboat was launched, later joined by both the offshore and inshore lifeboats of Bembridge RNLI station, and the Lee-on-Solent helicopter - all deploying strong searchlights over the waters from East Cowes to Osborne Bay. Also later used to illuminate the area were numerous distress flares.

But nothing was found, and with the growing belief there was no second swimmer after all, coastguards at the National Maritime Centre, Fareham decided around mid-night the search should be called-off. Cowes lifeboat, which had launched at 10.25, was soon back at the station.


RNLI media contact

  • George Chastney, Cowes RNLI Volunteer Press Officer 07530 254052/ [email protected]
  • Paul Dunt, RNLI Media Regional Officer (London/East/South East) 0207 6207426/ 07785 296252/ [email protected]
  • For enquiries outside normal business hours, contact the RNLI duty press officer on 01202 336789

· RNLI online: For more information on the RNLI please visit or Cowes Lifeboat Station can also be found on Facebook and Twitter

· News releases and other media resources, including RSS feeds, downloadable photos and video, are available at the RNLI News Centre.

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.

Learn more about the RNLI

For more information please visit the RNLI website or Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. News releases, videos and photos are available on the News Centre.

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.