2 Front Cover Design By GAFIRS Members Pictures Gosport Rescue 1 David Brading our current Frontline Craft Gosport Rescue 2 Harry Nichols Our Secondary Craft Gosport Rescue Mobile our Rescue Support Unit Cadet Canoe Rescue Section out on Local Patrol Contact Details Mr John Lee, Vice President Mr Steve Hobbs, Chairman Mr Ian Sweet, Secretary Mrs Joyce Thomas, Fundraising If you wish to visit the service please feel free to contact one of the above committee, or during the winter the GAFIRS HQ is open on Sundays , summer the HQ is manned weekends and bank holidays. We are able to arrange group visits and talks to other organisations, if you would like to visit or have a member visit please contact John Lee. If you wish to make a donation or sponsor equipment please contact Joyce Thomas. In all cases of emergency please dial 999 and ask for the appropriate service
3 Chairman s Report The Committee Structure Resources and Equipment History Incident Reports 2004 How can you help? GOSPORT & FAREHAM INSHORE RESCUE SERVICE Annual Report 2004 Table of Contents
4 Chairman s Annual Report 2004 Presented at the AGM Another year is over and I m sure someone is chopping off a few hours each month somewhere, because the years certainly seem to be getting shorter. During my current term (2yrs) in office, I must admit I have generally enjoyed working as chairman as well as a crew member for the majority of the time but like most things in life we all have our ups and downs, I hope like me, you can all enjoy and make the most of the ups and learn to accept a few downs. Before getting to involved in what the service has been up to during the year I would firstly like to thank all those who have again worked so hard this year to keep the organisation going and making it one of the leading voluntary maritime rescue services in the country, the crews who put in long hours manning the station (not to mention the 24hours on call), support personnel who assist in fundraising, cooking, cleaning, repairing, etc, But also the friends and associates of GAFIRS. It is these people who have assisted us by supplying either discounted or free goods / services, placing collecting tins on their counters or by holding raffles / collections and generally promoting our service again during the year and allowing us to continue providing a service to those in need, a big thank you to all. GAFIRS responded to 109 calls for assistance during the year, and I am pleased to say the year passed without to many major incidents on our patch, However one must ask if it was because of our professionalism, efficiency and speed in dealing with the incidents that prevent them from becoming major incidents or fatalities, I Believe the answer is Yes. The life of a volunteer these days seems to be harder work, with various government agencies producing and imposing many restrictions, bureaucracy, red tape and barriers in the way of providing a voluntary service to the community, for example the failure to protect good Samaritans from liability claims, Codes of practice more akin to commercial activities, it would seem these agencies are set on forcing many organisations down the road of expensive procedures and equipment to comply with more and more regulations without appraising and assessing the impact on voluntary and charitable organisations like GAFIRS, I appreciate and agree that for health and safety reasons some of the controls need to be put in place but in the long term if the government and its agencies don t start seeing sense even more volunteers will give up and communities will suffer even more. Enough of my soapbox lets look back at another year of GAFIRS The MEMBERSHIP Without our band of loyal and hard working Volunteers GAFIRS wouldn't be here. The membership this year was down a little at 82,but many other rescue services and organisations are struggling to retain members we are doing well. Throughout the year members supported the organisation in a variety of ways from crewing the boats, training members (inc.cadets), repairing/replacing equipment, fund-raising or just as importantly making the tea and talking to the public. Some of the team were able to put time in almost every week, while others were only able to help out on odd occasions, the important thing is they all helped and I thank them for that. In October 20 members received an invitation from Hampshire County Council to attend the Great Hall, Winchester at which ourselves and many others from Hampshire received a personal thank you for being long-term volunteers. Ken Pink deserves a special mention as he was honored with an MBE for services to the world of rescue, as most will know ken has been a member of GAFIRS almost as long as the service has been operating, during that time he has participated in every aspect of the organisation from canoe life guarding, dive rescue to frontline lifeboat Snr. Coxswain.
5 The COMMITTEE Thanks go to these team players that have worked hard this year to keep the service going and sometimes against all the odds. During the year we have had to make many decisions, many hopefully beneficial to the service, some greatly debated before satisfactory conclusions were found. Committee members work many hours behind the scenes and I feel sure that any help offered to ease the load would be greatly appreciated in the future. RESCUE BOATS G1 and G2 are still with us and looking as worn out and haggard as some of our members, G1 has run very well during the year without too many breakage's or failures considering its age and the environment that she tends to go out in. G2 underwent some serious repair and maintenance work earlier in the year and was able to carry out light duties throughout the year. We have heard recently that Avon may be ready to start producing a replacement boat for G2 that will meet with the new code of practice, fingers crossed. This time last year we were waiting for the release of the Rescue Boat Code of Practice to which we must work to, and would like to point out that this document has caused the committee much work, debate, and not to mention expense, anyway, we are still waiting. The Code is now in its 2nd draft and again has lengthy discussion documents flying around from various interested voluntary Organisations, so I believe it will be several months before we see the final Code. We received a very nice gift during the year; a good quality well maintained 4.5metre rib on a road trailer. This boat is being stored away from the Headquarters, as we have no room for it currently. It will be used for training purposes, RYA Courses and when required, inland for dive/flood Rescue due to its lightweight nature. We saw a few more new faces join the crew during the year, and hopefully following the ongoing training throughout the year we should have a few more crews and coxswains for the forthcoming year. Jim and Mollie Newton (new boat) - The boat arrived 16th April just as the finishing touches to the temporary structure for G2 and G3 were being made. With the use of a crane the new boat was placed onto its cradle and carefully rolled into the boathouse, I think everybody breathed a sigh of relief when it fitted, work has continued for completion at a slow throughout the year and will carry on during CADETS 2004 saw a large influx of young members some working under the Duke of Edinburgh Scheme, all of who have received regular training on Sunday mornings (and a few full days) from a band of senior members on all aspects of rescue work from canoe life guarding, first aid, to the use of radios and rope work. Some of the cadets supported by senior members also assisted at various events inc. fund-raising, lifeguard patrols and events organised by the BCU Lifeguards. The only downside was that we were unable to train enough to the canoe lifeguard standard to be able to compete in the national Championships in September. We already have a couple of these young people showing interest in returning in 2005 and progressing up to the rescue boats as soon as they are old enough. Lets hope we can encourage a similar number again in the New Year. FUND RAISING AND FINANCE The New Years Swim 2004 saw a rather damp start to the fund-raising year, although it didn't damping the spirits of those swimming or in fact those donating money. We have seen a very profitable year as far as income went, although our grants were somewhat reduced again by increased insurance premiums. We had several large donations being very kindly passed our way from a variety of people and organisations, some as results of fund-raising activities organised by members of the public, these varying from raft races, coffee mornings, raffles and drag queen nights. Collections from our own fund-raising team again topped past figures, I believe this is down to the hard work and dedication of the current band of fundraisers who are building very
6 nicely on the foundations and developing further the good work of past fund-raisers. There are also some major expenses to come for maintenance to the headquarters i.e. new shutter doors, roof, glazing and rewiring to whole building and to fund the rest of the fit out for the new boat, so it is still very important to maintain our levels of income. DIVE SECTION Relatively few calls this year, but we still maintain a very active bunch of divers all willing to turn out day or night, It was reassuring to note that after such a spell of inactivity a call came in late one night to a car in the river Itchen by Woolston Bridge, the first diver was on scene and ready to dive within approx. 25mins. And the newly donated support boat on trailer and full dive back kit was only 10mins. Behind if it had been required. Glad to say that no one was hurt in the incident (another joy rider dumping his spoil). EQUIPMENT After months of trials and deliberations new lifejackets were purchased for the front-line crew members, the new style lifejackets are more user friendly and enable the crew go about their rescue tasks more easily. Next is looking at replacing the helmets. Hopefully one day we may even provide dry suits for our crews instead of expecting them to buy (and maintain) their own. Another major piece of equipment purchased during the year was a new salvage pump, this light weight portable pump, similar to those used by MCA will assist us in situations where vessels are sinking or water logged, it also has the capability of fire fighting if necessary. A FEW MEMORIES FROM 2004 March 14 members searched Camper Nicholson Marina for person believed to have fallen overboard, only to discover he had gone home and left his boat open and all his tools out on deck. May 2 incidents at the same time at night, neither in the sea, one was a car in the river Wallington, the second search of small watercourse at Eastliegh. June, being invited to observe the major planning excise TRITON that tested all services and authorities in a major flood situation. July, receiving a very large donation from a group of people who sank their chartered yacht during a race in the Solent. August, following a call from the duty officer asking our crew members to stop swimming & leave the water it was discovered it was in fact a dead whale that was drifting through the Solent, SEPTEMBER, 10yr old boy washed out on his windsurfer and dad swam out to save him but was struggling also, this incident was seen by one of our new cadets who was sailing his topper dingy at the time and quickly made his way to assist using some of his newly acquired skills whilst waiting for backup from G1. And of course attending the four Weddings that GAFIRS had during the course of the year. Better not forget either the two babies born into the GAFIRS Family. THE YEAR AHEAD Trafalgar 200 celebrations on our doorstep, which will mean that all our resources, are likely to be used. Another attempt at a major lottery grant to pay for our badly needed extension. Complete the building of our new frontline boat. Not forgetting to look forward to day after day of lovely sunny days and delicious barbecues. Here's looking towards another year serving GAFIRS and the Community. STEVE HOBBS (Chairman)
7 Gosport And Fareham Inshore Rescue Service Management Committee Structure Patron Lady Fieldhouse President Mayor of Gosport Vice President John Lee President Mayor of Fareham Medical Director Dr Brando Tamayo Honorary Solicitor Ian Sandilands Honorary Accountant Chairman Steve Hobbs Secretary Ian Sweet Treasurer John Martyn Vice Chairman Mike Allen Senior Helmsman Chris Rudd Station Officer Stuart Patterson Training Officer Gareth Davies Transport Officer Dave Hodson Youth Development Peter Linwood Beach Rescue Adam Brown Medical Coordinator Ian Hubbard Dive Coordinator Bob Needham Fundraising Joyce Thomas Health and Safety Mark Tootell Special Projects Phil Barfield
8 Resources and Equipment The Gosport and Fareham Inshore Rescue Service is an independent Inshore Rescue Service that provides a volunteer rescue service in the Solent area with a coverage area from Portsmouth Harbour to Titchfield Haven and surrounding inland areas. The Lifeboat crews are on call with the Coastguard 24 hours a day 365 days a year. In 2004 the service was called to 109 incidents, making it one of the busiest Independent Rescue Service in the country. The service has a numerous resources including three front line Lifeboats, A Heavy Recovery Tractor and Landrover Rescue Support Unit. Gosport Rescue 1 (David Brading) is a fully self-righting, 7.4m rigid hulled inflatable boat, which is powered by a 330HP Iveco diesel engine driving a single Castoldi water Jet. The craft s speed is over 38 knots and can reach any part of the patrol area within 30 minutes. She is fitted with sophisticated navigation and communications system, specialised rescue equipment, night vision sights and first aid equipment to paramedic standard. Currently we have in Build a replacement for Gosport Rescue 1 which is now 13 years old, the new rescue craft the Jim an Molly Newton is to be launched in 2006, She is a larger craft constructed by VT Halmatic, this craft is larger at 8.4m and will be powered by two 330HP Iveco diesel engines driving Castoldi water jets, This capital project is costing 150,000, we are currently looking to raise a further 66,000 to complete the project.
9 Gosport Rescue 2 (Harry Nichols) is a 4m rigid hulled inflatable powered by a 30Hp outboard Engine, primarily our shoreline patrol craft and inland waterways, She carries basic rescue equipment, communications and first aid equipment. This craft is also due for replacement, currently this is being prevented due to new legislation awaiting to be passed regarding the construction of rescue craft, the new craft will be fully compliant and will be another 4m boat named the Cams Cutter Gosport Rescue 3 (Miss Elsa) is a fully self righting 5.45m rigid hulled inflatable powered by twin 40Hp outboard engines, This craft has a dual role, it is our standby frontline boat but is also used by the dive rescue team, She is fitted with a sophisticated navigation and communications system, specialised rescue equipment, and first aid equipment.
10 Gosport Rescue Tango this is the services heavy recovery tractor, utilised for the launch and recovery of the rescue craft, and also assisting those who have difficulty recovering their own craft up the steep slipway where we are based, with the construction of the new rescue craft the service will need to replace the current tractor with a larger machine as the new craft will be significantly heavier to pull up the slipway, this project is in the region of 10,000 and will include the conversion and adapt ion of the unit to our requirements. Gosport Rescue Mobile this is the services rescue support unit, based on a landrover 110 chassis, it is used to tow our inland boats, and incident support trailer, the unit can be utilised for a variety of taskings including beach / area searches, remote casualty recovery or as a mobile control point. Additional Resources and Equipment, we also have two smaller boats, which are used for inland waterways searches, Ice rescue, we have a dedicated training craft to aid the training of crews and also used by our RYA sea school. We are fortunate that we have the support of a BASICS Doctor and Paramedics, and we have a range of specialised medical rescue equipment for the maritime environment, many of our crews are trained in the use of Oxygen and an Automated Defibrillator which is widely recognised as the most needed equipment at a collapsed patient. Our Cadet Section have 10 specialised rescue canoes, which are used for coastal patrols and a small amount of inshore rescue work.
11 A Brief History The Gosport and Fareham Inshore Rescue Service was founded in 1969 to fill the vacuum caused by the disbandment in 1964 of the Gosport Lifeguard Club. The driving force behind the formation was a young woodwork teacher who was also a skilled canoeist. He appreciated there was a requirement for beach lifeguards, Canoe Lifeguards and a fast rescue boat. This triple rescue capability was subsequently found to be ideal for the clubs locality With loans and a grant from a local charitable organisation the first DIY kit inflatable was purchased along with a 20 hp Outboard engine and assembled at school. This with personal canoes was the sum total of equipment used during the first years of operation and was all housed within a Victorian deckchair store situated next door to stokes bay sailing club. During the next three years with the help of the Gosport, Fareham and Hampshire Councils, the clubs equipment was increased to 2 rescue boats, 12 purpose built canoes (designed by a member) and all the ancillary equipment to make the organisation effective. The organisation has continued to expand and in the late 80 s moved into a purpose built headquarters at stokes bay, the service now has three rescue boats and answers over 110 callouts each year, the service has also expanded to include a Dive rescue team, Ice rescue team, and Medical Support Team, The cadet section continues to provide valuable training for local youngsters and they are found competing in local and national competitions, both for Lifesaving and canoeing, many of the cadets progress to continue as boat crew There was a rapid increase in dinghy sailing in the Solent, alas the sea rescue service were not geared up to respond to such events and two sailors were drowned in Stokes Bay. A local school teacher witnessed the event and vowed to set up a service that could help such sailors Inaugural meeting of the Gosport and Fareham Inshore Rescue Service. The meeting agreed to set up an Independent Lifeboat Service to assist those seafarers who went to sea in the Solent between Hill Head and the Forts including Portsmouth Harbour who found themselves needing assistance in times of trouble Gosport Council agreed the use of Victorian deck chair store for use as GAFIRS HQ and Royal Life Saving Society ( Wessex Branch) part funded the purchase of a second hand, prototype wooden Rigid Inflatable Boat ( RIB) from Atlantic College, this craft was a forerunner of the RNLIs Atlantic class Lifeboats The club numbers began to grow with a large proportion of canoeists from Bay House School, This pool of experienced canoeists was used by Streamlite, a canoe manufacture to trial and test a new concept the RESCUE CANOE. It was soon a success and this Gosport invention is now in use throughout the world GAFIRS purchased its new Rescue Boats, from Avon Ltd. These TWO boats a 5.4mtr and a 4 mtr Searider were powered by outboard motors. Launching systems were not yet perfected and during the official launch the sea conditions caused the craft to be swamped. However those present found the organisation worth supporting and damaged equipment was soon replaced. It was this year that found Esso funding the services communications with the provision of a marine radio for the rescue boat. By 1975 with the boats in need of replacement and the local authorities reducing their grant assistance in line with funding policy, fundraising and donations from local businesses and charitable organisations became a necessity This was the hot summer year and the rescue service had out grown its deck chair store, on request the Council made available a disused groundsman store Saw the Jubilee Review of the Fleet, where hundreds of vessels sailed around Spithead. For 10 days and nights the service was manned and ready to go. It was this period that paved the way for the service to go 24 hour.
12 1978 The GAFIRS was inspected and accredited as being good enough to be on call with HM Coastguard as a 24hr INSHORE LIFEBOAT STATION. This status enabled HMCG to request the launch of the clubs rescue boats on the same standing as an RNLI station. During this ten year period the service never lost its roots and canoe lifeguarding flourished when GAFIRS became the best Canoe Lifeguard unit in the UK, an award issued by the British Canoe Union based on National Championships The new 6mtr Inshore Lifeboat was launched, this was our first self righting Lifeboat. This boat was the first Avon 6 Mtr RIB was fitted with twin 80Hp engines. However the new boat would not fit into the boat house or fit the old trailer. The Navy, in the guise of HMS Sultan resolved the trailer problem, while we set about building an extension to the deck chair store. Things stabilised for a while until one winters night the pagers sounded to summon the crew in near storm 10 conditions in a snow storm, a snow drift had built up against the boathouse door and this had to be cleared away before we could launch the boat. 20 minutes later the Lifeboat launched and successfully recovered a sailor who had rowed out to his yacht to put anti freeze in the engine. The deck chair store had out lived its usefulness and a proper Lifeboat Station was required. By 1980 the organisation had developed to provide a 24hr pager callout service to the HM Coastguard and responded to approximately 75 calls per year After collecting together 70,000 the new Inshore Lifeboat Station was officially opened by Admiral of the Fleet, Sir John Fieldhouse. This structure currently houses the operational Lifeboats and is the GAFIRS HQ The Canoe team of the service represented England in Canoe Lifesaving in France, during the same year one of our canoeists repeatedly paddled out in high surf conditions to rescue a yachtsmen from a wrecked yacht. The canoeists received the British Canoe Union's Meritorious Award for this service The Royal Humane Society award on Velum was awarded to one of our crew members for his valiant attempt to rescue a seaman trapped in a capsized sinking motor boat, which had been cut in half following a collision with a large commercial vessel The Meritorious Service Award was given to the crew of our Lifeboat for the recovery of five yachtsmen aboard a yacht aground in gale conditions The Dr's and Paramedics Form the First Aquatic BASIC'S Scheme in the country comprising of Dr's and Paramedics 2000 GAFIRS was the fi rst station to launch in the new millenium, the station had been manned by a skeleton crew, due to three large firework displays and large public numbers it was considered this was a requirement, the Medical team provided the required cover being able to respond to both aquatic and land based incidents, Due to the expected problems with telecommunications networks the crews had all been issued with Radios and an additional back up radio system of 30 handhelds and 20 mobiles was made available at the station 2000 The Royal Humane Society awards one of the services divers for his successful resuscitation of an fellow diver in cardiac and respiratory arrest The RLSS awards Two crew the Trenchard Plate for their efforts trying to resuscitate a Cardiac Arrest Patient The RLSS Commonwealth committee awards crews the Commonwealth Letter of Commendation for their efforts in a Rescue of two seriously injured casualties following a High powered boats, This is the First time the Commonwealth Letter of Commendation has been awarded.
13 Incident Report rd Jan 2004: At only 4 C the winter evening was getting very cold and visibility was due to close in as the night drew on. No moon was in the sky as Gosport Rescue 3* our reserve rescue boat launched at 1745 hours to assist the 29ft fishing vessel Pamela Anne. This fishing vessel had suffered gearbox failure that left her with only reverse gear. Once her skipper had identified that with the failed gearbox he could not make his way safely into Portsmouth Harbour he telephoned the Coastguard on his mobile phone to ask for assistance. Our crews were paged and our Lifeboat was quickly alongside the disabled craft, which was currently at anchor off Haslar sea wall awaiting assistance. Once on scene our Lifeboat took the vessel under tow to Camper & Nicholson Marina, Gosport, where representatives of HM Coastguard met the craft. Although conditions were cold neither of the two persons aboard the fishing vessel needed medical attention. * Gosport Rescue One our front line rescue boat was in refit. Wednesday 28 th Jan 2004: A passing weather front had caused extremely cold arctic air to blow down from the north. Blinding snow and blizzard condition were forecast for later in the day. The wind was already blowing a force 6 off shore when the crew of a high performance racing dinghy took to the waters off Stokes Bay. Although the winds were strong the waters were protected by the land and just a slight ripple ruffled the sea within the bay. However condition outside the protection of the shore were much more extreme and as the dinghy left the sheltered waters near Gilkicker Point she was impacted by the full force of the wind and waves. In such conditions the crew although competent and experienced were soon overwhelmed and their craft capsized. They made numerous attempts to right the craft but once subjected to the cold winter waters the crews quickly lost their strength and the battle to right their craft. Their plight was spotted from the shore and HM Coastguard alerted, they paged our Lifeboat crew. At 1333hours the Lifeboat launched and was alongside the disabled craft within 6 minutes. The dinghy s crew had been in the water for a long time and they had started to lose body heat. Once on scene the both dinghy crewmen were taken aboard they Lifeboat and transferred to the shore where HM Coastguard supervised their re-warming pending the arrival of the ambulance. As the crews were being treated the Lifeboat launched again to recover their dinghy. Once this was safely returned to the shore the Lifeboat returned to station and was washed, refuelled and rehoused at 1430hours. 2 hours later the snow arrived and blizzard conditions enveloped the area. Sunday 8 th February The cold northerly wind was blowing at 22knots when Hampshire Fire Brigade were alerted to two youths reportedly trapped in water near the wrecks in Forton Lake, Portsmouth Harbour. While the brigade made attempts at rescuing the lads from the shore they also requested via HM Coastguard that our Lifeboat attend the scene and attempt a rescue from the sea should their land attempt not be successful. Gosport Rescue Three our standby Lifeboat was launched at 1146 hours and made best speed for the area. The Brigade s rescue effort paid off and the Lifeboat was stood down, however these two youths had been in the water for a while and the Brigade asked for medical assistance. A Paramedic from the rescue service attended the scene to assess and treat their condition pending the arrival of the ambulance. Sunday 8 th February The wind was still bitterly cold from the north when the yacht Sea Holy on passage from Fareham Creek heard shouts for help from the water off Wicor Marine, Portsmouth Harbour. They turned their yacht around and attempted to alert HM Coastguard using the marine distress radio channel, Channel 16. However this frequency was blocked because someone in the harbour had their radio jammed on transmit on this frequency blotting out their calls for assistance. As the skipper retraced his passage he found an up turned dinghy adrift in the channel. Further investigation found three people in the water clinging to pontoons. These persons had been in the water for a while and their strength was failing. The skipper of Sea Holy abandoned his attempt to use the radio and used his mobile phone to get assistance from the Coastguard.
14 HM Coastguard scrambled the Coastguard Helicopter, alerted the harbour Police Launch and requested the immediate launch of our Lifeboat to assist in recovering those in the water. The police launch located the yacht s crew first and took all three aboard their craft, these persons were very cold and an ambulance was requested to meet the Police Launch when it docked. Once ashore the casualties were assessed by Hampshire Ambulance Paramedics and treated for the effects of immersion. It can not be stressed too highly that the careless blocking of Channel 16 could so easily have resulted in the death of those in the water. On this occasion the skipper of the yacht that found them had with him his mobile phone and luckily he was in an area where signal strength allowed him to make the emergency call. The accidental blocking of the Distress channel by careless placement of marine radio transmitter microphones has become a serious problem over the last few years. Today we were lucky but on the next occasion this situation could prove fatal. Monday 16 th February 2004:The winter weather had not warmed much when the 18ft fishing dinghy "Hi De Hi with three adults aboard alerted Solent Coastguard by mobile phone that they had broken down in Osbourne bay. At 1921hours HM Coastguard paged our crew to launch the Lifeboat to assist this disabled craft. Gosport Rescue 3 was launched into the cold night airs and was alongside the dinghy 20 minutes later. Although chilled by the cold weather none of the three persons onboard the fishing vessel needed medical treatment and the craft was towed back into its home port of Cowes, Isle of Wight. Monday 1 st March 2004:Co-workers and marina staff were concerned for the safety of a colleague when he failed to clock off at the end of the working day. Inspection of the yacht he was working on showed tools left on board and the hatch still unlocked. They suspected he may have fallen into the water and rapidly conducted a search of the area. When no trace was found they alerted both the Police and HM Coastguard. It was full night when both of our Lifeboats launched to conduct an extended surface search of the area. When this failed to find the missing man the search area was increased to cover underwater aspects and members of our dive rescue team were called in to undertake a seabed search of the area around the moored yacht. Following an hour of searching bot h above and below the water the search was eventually called off when Police advised that the man had been found safe and well at home! An internal enquiry the following day sought to establish why the man had just got up and left the craft but the findings were never released. Sunday 7 th March 2004:The normal Sunday morning sailing in bay was cut short when a hail storm enveloped the area, many dinghies capsized and others ran for cover as the wind rapidly increased. It was during such a squall that a small sailing dinghy was witnessed to be in trouble by a Coastguard Patrol. Seeing the one person aboard having trouble in righting the craft they alert our Lifeboat requesting a launch of the lifeboat to assist. However they became even more concerned when they witnessed a swimmer leave the beach with the intention of swimming out to the dinghy to render assistance. Our smaller Lifeboat Gosport Rescue 3 was rapidly launched and was on scene a few minutes later. They took both persons from the water and righted the capsized craft before taking it in tow for the beach where they were handed over to HM Coastguard who supervised their re-warming and treatment. It transpired that having witnessed his son capsize the dinghy and being unable to right it the father had jumped into his wet suit and swum out to assist his son. By they time the Lifeboat arrived both persons were suffering from the effects of immersion into cold sea water. Friday 2 nd April 2004:It was dusk as a dinghy sailed out of the shelter of the bay into the full force of the north easterly winds where it was soon overpowered and capsized. The situation was observed by the crew of a passing yacht but they could not render assistance so they advised Solent Coastguard. As the sun set our crew mustered at the Lifeboat station and launched the boat 17minutes after being paged from their homes. The 505 class racing dinghy was easily found thanks to the yacht that had remained on scene to mark her position. These dinghies are normally sailed by two crewm an but there was only one person on the capsized craft and without the additional weight of the second crew the craft had become too much to handle in the prevailing conditions. One crewman from the Lifeboat, a trained dinghy sailor himself volunteered to make up the missing crew, with two persons now aboard the dinghy she was soon righted and sailed back to the Stokes Bay Sailing Club.
15 Sunday 4 th April 2004:In April the sea temperature is still very cold, it was in such conditions that a yachtsman found himself when he slipped as he tried to step into his small tender. Although the boat remained upright the sailor soon lost his strength and could not summon up enough energy to haul himself up into his tender. Luckily he was spotted as he and his boat drifted out on the ebbing tide, as the coastguard were being alerted local fisherman attempted their own rescue. They had soon managed to get the man to a floating pontoon and hauled him from the water, while our Lifeboat was no longer needed the Coastguard present requested that we dispatch our Landrover Ambulance and paramedic to checkout this sailor. He was very cold and our team administered treatment until a county ambulance could reach the scene and take him to hospital. Sunday 4 th April 2004:The Lifeboat had only just returned from the last incident, she had been recovered, refuelled and turned round when the yacht Wavetrain sent out a MAYDAY RELAY on the international distress channel, channel 16. When she was answered by HM Coastguard her skipper advised that he had seen a man fall from the yacht Seago. Sea conditions were rough and the wind was blowing a near gale. HM Coastguard requested the immediate launch of our Lifeboat and scrambled the Coastguard s Helicopter to the scene off Browndown Point. The team aboard Dragonfly another yacht in area showed exceptional seamanship when they brought their yacht up to the man in the water and effected a recovery. With the man now safely on this yacht the Lifeboat and Helicopter were diverted to this craft, This yacht was soon found and as the Lifeboat stood by the man was winched into the helicopter and airlifted to QA hospital Portsmouth. Sending a Mayday for anyone falling into the water is the correct action to take, by this action the emergency teams are rapidly alerted and can be heading for the incident. On this occasion the skill of other yachtsmen allowed the person to be rescued from the water, but sudden immersion into cold water can have delayed and fatal effects so the person in the water must be taken for a medical check up. Friday 9 th April 2004: The first Cuckoo : The stormy weather had abated and a light force two westerly breeze filled the air. This lack of wind was not to the liking of all sailors. At 1737hours the skipper of a 32ft Sovereign class yacht reported that the ebbing tide was taking him out to sea and he could not progress against it due to the lack of wind. On being asked if he had an engine he replied he did but had now run out of fuel! Our Lifeboat crew was paged and the Lifeboat launched to render assistance, the craft was soon found and towed to safety. Saturday 10 th April 2004: Our Lifeboat is fitted with a VHF Direction finding set, this can not only locate signals being transmitted on the VHF marine band but can home into signals from aircraft distress beacons and EPIRBs. Today an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon was heard to be transmitting on the aircraft band of 121.5Mhz. Satellite fixing had plotted its position to the central Solent where upon HM Coastguard requested that we launch the Lifeboat to try and identify the source of this distress signal. We launched at 1330hours and although the beacon could be heard faintly on the radio it was too weak to lock our direction finder onto. Having searched for over an hour the signal faded out and was not heard of again. No vessel, aircraft or person was reported lost or in trouble and the incident was written off as accidental activation from unknown source. Tuesday 20 th April 2004 The water temperature was still very cold when two 15 year old youths got into difficulties today as they attempted to swim out to their boat moored in Haslar Creek, Portsmouth Harbour. The water soon chilled them and although they reached the safety of a moored boat in the creek they were much too cold to attempt to swim back to shore.hm Coastguard was alerted by a bystander who heard the lads calling for help and paged the crew of Gosport Rescue a little before 6pm. Although the water was too deep for the two lads to wade back to shore, the water was too shallow for the Police launch that attended the scene to get close to the casualty. Gosport Rescue 2 the rescue units smaller Inshore Lifeboat was launched under the control of Coxswain Gareth Davies and crewed by Peter Linwood. As they passed the Police launch on the way to the scene they embarked a police officer, with his help they took the two lads from the moored boat to the safety of Haslar Marina. The cold had affected the lads now, they were blue, could hardly talk and were showing the first signs of hypothermia. The HM Coastguard Officer on scene had summoned an ambulance. Once the Lifeboat had transferred the two lads to the shore both were taken to QA Hospital by ambulance where they were treated for the effects of cold water immersion.
16 Saturday 23 rd April 2004: A Shocking Experience Gosport Rescue One was out on routine patrol, the weather was warm and sea calm. The very high spring tide was at its zenith when HM Coastguard received a telephone call from a lad reporting that he and his friend were aboard a jet ski which had suffered engine failure near Ryde Sands. These two were now at the mercy of the tide and were being taken westerly towards the pier. When the coastguard asked if they had any way to anc hor their craft they were told it was now too late as they had been swept under the pier and were clinging onto the piles that supported the pier s deck. Gosport Rescue one was tasked to assist, but on arrival found the jet ski was under the railway line that runs down the pier, with the tide so high the lifeboat could not get under the pier so Lifeboatman Gareth Davies volunteered to swim a line into the skiers. During the swim the lads let go of the piling and were now holding themselves in position by clinging to the under structure of the railway support beams. This would normally be ok but the railway on the Isle of Wight uses electric trains and one of the rails the lads could access held a fatal voltage of 600v. As Gareth swam towards the skiers they were told to only hold onto the vertical pilings, once Gareth arrived he tied the towline to the jet ski and the lifeboat towed all three from under the pier to the safety of Ryde Harbour where they were met by representatives of HM Coastguard. Sunday 25 th April 2004: As reported our Lifeboat is fitted with VHF Direction finding equipment, as the team signed on for the day HM Coastguard requested that they launch to attempt to find a vessel whose radio had jammed on channel 16. With this radio transmitting no other station could use the distress and calling frequency. The Lifeboat was soon able to identify a number of craft that could be sending the signal. However as they approached one suspect craft the jamming signal disappeared. Once the radio channel was again free to be used for distress working the Lifeboat returned to station. Wednesday 28 th April 2004: Double Trouble The day had been warm and calm enticing many onto the water. During their mid day lunch break a party of work colleagues from Gosport decided to take their lunch afloat. They climbed aboard a 20ft motor cruiser with the aim of crossing Portsmouth Harbour to Gun Wharf Quays for lunch. There were no clear mooring spaces at the Quays so the team changed plans and headed out of the harbour for Cowes, Isle of Wight. Within half an hour their high speed launch arrived at Cowes and a grand lunch was had by all. However their return was undertaken at a much reduced speed, they left Cowes at speed alright but once in the Solent the engine stopped and they lay drifting in the tide. The cause of the reduced speed was easy to diagnose, they had not planned such a long trip and had run out of fuel. By early evening they had drifted to Mother Bank where a concerned fishing boat reported their plight to HM Coastguard. HM Coastguard advised our HQ and requested we launch to assist. Gosport Rescue Three attended the scene took the craft in tow for Royal Clarence Yard, Gosport. While our smaller Lifeboat was attending this craft, Gosport Rescue One our front line rescue boat was attending to a jet ski that had broken down off No2 Battery, Browndown point. While out water skiing behind their jet ski the driver of this craft managed to get the tow rope sucked up into his jet disabling the engine. Once on scene our Lifeboat towed the craft back to Lee on Solent and reunited the lads with their car and trailer, although chilled by their extended period in the water neither required medical assistance. Saturday 1 st May 2004: The bank holiday weather was kind, there was no wind and the warm calm conditions were ideal for an impromptu Bar B Q on the beach. Local youths at Ryde soon set about cooking, drinking and partying well into the night until having received a complaint about the noise the local Police attended the event. The youths fearing their night time rave was being raided upped sticks and a number of them ran into the sea. The Police officers on witnessing 20 persons in the water raised the alarm and advised HM Coastguard. Solent C/G paged all the local lifeboats these included the Lifeboat from Cowes, Two of our Lifeboats and scrambled the Search & Rescue Helicopter, As our boats arrived at the incident they were guided to the scene by the Police spotter plane that was circling over head. The cold water had an instant cooling effect both on the body and on the party sprit, although a large number of persons had entered the water all had soon realised the water was far too cold for an extended swim and had returned to shore. Once the police advised all were safe all rescue units were stood down and returned to station.
17 Bank Holiday Monday 3 rd May 2004: The weather had remained calm throughout the bank holiday with only a light breeze to ruffle the waters of the Solent. However even these little waves were enough to turn three young children green with sea sickness when their RIB stopped beam on to sea as her engine failed. Our Lifeboat, which had been on patrol in the area, spotted the craft. On arrival at the vessel the skipper was seen making a call on his radio to HM Coastguard and was more than impressed to see the Lifeboat alongside his boat by the time he had finished his call. Further calls were made as the skipper arrange for his friend to tow him back into Portsmouth, but his children could not last much longer and the shade of green was getting ever deeper. At this point the coxswain suggested that most of the RIB s crew be taken aboard the Lifeboat for the passage back to Portsmouth while the skipper awaited the arrival of his tow. It was some very eager children (of all ages!) that jumped at the chance, once underway aboard the Lifeboat the children s green tinge gave way to their more normal pallor and smiles could now be seen on their faces. A few minutes later the children and crew were delivered to the safety of the waiting Coastguards at Haslar Marina and the Lifeboat returned to station Wednesday 4 th May 2004: The warm weather that had greeted us over the bank holiday weekend had long gone. The wind was now blowing a fresh force 6 to 7 from the South West when the skipper of the 24ft Hardy class cabin cruiser reported to Solent Coastguard that he had suffered steering failure and his craft was now disabled. HM Coastguard paged our crew at 2148hours,.The crews mustered from their homes and our front line Lifeboat Gosport Rescue One was launched 15 minutes later. Although the sea was choppy the passage to the casualty was still made at full speed and the Lifeboat arrived alongside the Coastal Sounder six minutes later. Without steering the cabin cruiser wandered about as the craft was towed back towards Portsmouth Harbour, to stop these wayward motions the Lifeboat crew deployed a sea anchor/drogue from the rear of the vessel being towed. This straightened her course and then she was quickly towed into Haslar Marina, Gosport. Once the craft was safely secured in the Marina the Lifeboat returned to station at 2331hours where she was refuelled, washed and made ready for her next service by 0015hrs. Saturday 8 th May 2004: A gale warning was in force when the skipper of a Hey Jude a large cruising catamaran came across a man in the water ¾ south of Stokes Bay Sailing Club. As the skipper was single handed he thought he might have difficulty in recovering the person from the water so he sent out a MAYDAY RELAY on behalf of the person in the sea.solent Coastguard responded and requested the immediate launch of our Lifeboat Gosport Rescue One to assist. Although our Lifeboat was launched inside three minutes and headed directly out to the incident, in a splendid demonstration of seamanship the skipper brought his large yacht round and was recovering the person from the water as the Lifeboat Boat arrived. It soon transpired that the man in the water was the crew of a two man racing dinghy, his craft had capsized and on being righted the craft gathered speed and sailed off without him! The other crewman of the dinghy could not control the craft without his help and capsized again about a 1/4mile away. Gosport Rescue One collected the sailor who had spent a long time in water and transferred him to the safety of the shore before going out to sea again to assist the capsized dinghy.. A Lifeboatman was placed into the sea to help pull the dinghy over, as this was taking place the safety launch from the sailing club arrived and their man leapt into the sea to provide the additional body weight necessary to bring the dinghy upright. Once the craft was upright and sailing well the Lifeboatman was recovered from the water and the dinghy now under the control of the original helmsman and with a new crewman from the club safety boat sailed the craft back to shore under the escort of the Lifeboat. Although wet and cold neither dinghy crewman needed medical assistance, Sunday 9 th May 2004: With full sail set the skipper of the a 35ft yacht was surprised to see his GPS speed drop to zero, there had been no bang and the craft appeared to answer her helm but she was not moving through the water. Having spent a long while trying to establish what had gone wrong the skipper alerted HM Coastguard and asked for assistance. Once our Lifeboat arrived on scene nothing untoward was to be seen, but it was confirmed the yacht was stationary in the water. A tow line was placed aboard the yacht and
18 the Lifeboat started to haul the craft but even the full power from its engine failed to shift the yacht. As the tow tightened a dark line could be seen coming from under the yachts hull. It transpired she had snagged a pot string marking buoy and now a whole string of lobster pots held her fast to the seabed. On donning a face mask and jumping into the water a volunteer from the Lifeboat crew confirmed a marker buoy was wedged on the ships P bracket. By looking at the lay of the line it was established that it should be possible to use the Lifeboat to spin the yacht round off of the submerged buoy. Our Lifeboat is powered by a water jet so there are no propellers to foul this line when it did get free. So with the Lifeboat strapped alongside the yacht she was spun around until the obstruction was cleared. With a loud Plop the marker buoy appeared at the surface and the yacht was free to make her own passage. 11 th May 2004: The warm spring air laying over the cold Solent water had produced a thick fog reducing visibility to under 400 yards when a 23ft fishing boat suffered engine failure near No Mans Land fort in the Solent. The skipper and his crew advised Solent Coastguard of their plight, HM Coastguard paged our Lifeboat crew requesting an immediate launch of Gosport Rescue One. Our Lifeboat is fitted with both radar and satellite navigation systems and by using these aids the coxswain soon found the disabled craft and towed it back into Portsmouth Harbour. The name of the fishing vessel, what else BLUE MIST! Tuesday 25 th May 2004: Local lads had been out bait digging in the mud that makes up the seabed of Portsmouth Harbour, it was during his return that the bait digger found an extra soft area of mud which had trapped him up to his knees. Being unable to move he used his mobile to call the emergency services. Police, Fire, Ambulance and Coastguard were all summoned, the Fire Brigade mud pontoon were on route but would not arrive for another ½ hour, the tide was making and soon water would start to cover the mud bank. With this knowledge HM Coastguard requested we attend with our boat and scrambled the SAR helicopter. As time was critical the officer in charge requested the helicopter attempt to recover the man from the mud, This was achieved at the first attempt, and the lad was soon dangling under the helicopter as he was airlifted to the shore and the waiting ambulance teams. Once it was confirmed he was safe our team and boat were stood down. Friday 28 th May 2004: It was an early morning wake up call for our Lifeboatmen today. They were paged by HM Coastguard at 0543hours to launch the Lifeboat to the assistance of a 31ft Colvic class yacht that was disabled with engine failure ½ mile south of the Lifeboat Station, Stokes Bay, Gosport. The Lifeboat was alongside the yacht within twenty minutes of the skipper advising the Coastguard of his problem. It transpired that the yacht s engine had failed due to contaminated fuel and the very low wind speed and light airs made sailing such a heavy craft impossible. The yacht was taken under tow by the Lifeboat and towed to the safety of Haslar Marina, Gosport. Sunday 30 th May 2004:The engine warning panel alarm system lit up aboard a local rescue boat, the engine temperature was showing a very hot engine and the engine box fire sensor was showing a fire in the engine bay. With the alarms sounding in his ears the helmsman of this rescue craft calmly informed HM Coastguard that he thought he may have a fire onboard. Standard protocol dictates that adjacent rescue units are called to assist and we were task to render what assistance we could. Taking extra fire extinguishers with us the Lifeboat launched at speed and was alongside the disabled craft within 10 minutes. There was a strong smell of burning on the vessel and most crew were taken off. As our lifeboat towed the craft towards the shore, HM Coastguard was arranging that the fire brigade would meet us on our arrival. Once secured to the jetty a fire officer lifted the engine cover to check for fire, although steam and a very hot engine met his gaze there was no fire. Once the Fire Brigade declared the craft safe she was towed to her home port. 30 th May 2004: Some days just about everything goes wrong, that s what the skipper of a 30ft yacht reported to the coxswain of our Lifeboat. He had been sailing with some friends when the shallow water alarm started to sound warning him of the shallows ahead. Alas the sounding was not quick enough and the yacht ended up parked on the tip of Ryde sands. As the tide ebbed away his yacht was left high and dry lying parallel with the end of the bank. Climbing from his boat he took the anchor and as much chain as he could pull and placed it towards the deep water. After a while of drinking tea and other liquids the tide returned and just as the yacht was going to float off a wave lifted the craft and swung her around over her anchor warp. Not content with just going aground on the sands the yacht was now anchored by a line wrapped around her keel! The skipper knowing when its time to give up advised HM Coastguard who asked if we would launch to assist. The yacht was spun around using the power of the Lifeboat, once the line was free and the tide height was right she floated off without further ado.
19 31 st May 2004: small snappy terrier dog called Holly lived up to its prickly name today when it became entrapped in soft mud off the coast in Forton Lake, Gosport, ( Part of Portsmouth Harbour). The dog s plight was spotted by a walker who alerted the emergency services. On receiving the call HM Coastguard paged their mobile response unit and requested the launch of our Lifeboat to access the scene by sea. As the water was very shallow the Lifeboat crew took with them a special rescue kayak, using this canoe to provide both support and buoyancy crewman Gareth Davies waded across the mud towards the dog. The frightened dog was having none of this intrusion into his area and as Gareth approached the dog turned and bit the crewman on the hand. Not going to be out done by a terrier, Gareth grasped the dog by the scruff of the neck and lifted it into the safety of the canoe s cockpit. Once there the dog settled down and allowed the lifeboat crew to propel it towards the Lifeboat. Once the dog was secure the Lifeboat motored to the Gosport Cruising Club pontoon where Holly was passed over to the Police and Coastguard teams while his owner was located. The Police soon traced Holly s owner and as both were being re-united the Lifeboat made passage for the Lifeboat Station where it and its crew required a thorough wash down to remove all traces of mud. Once washed Gareth attended Haslar Hospital to receive his anti tetanus jab thus adding more insult to injury!!. Sunday 31st May 2004 Double trouble 2 : Just after 2330hrs the pagers summoning the assistance of our Lifeboat crews were triggered by HM Coastguard. Although GAFIRS operates two inshore Lifeboats they did not want either of these on this shout. Or should we say these shouts for on this occasion they had two incidents at the same time both requiring our unique capability:- Among our specialist team we can call upon a group of volunteer divers who give freely of their time to respond to incidents where underwater operations are required. The Police had requested this team to attend the first of the incidents on this night. A car had crashed through the protective barrier of the bridge as it crossed the creek in the middle of Fareham Town. The car was the right way up but sunk up to its roof in the sea water, at first Police could not be confirm if anone was inside the car so all haste was made to the scene. The car had hit the barrier at speed punching right through the brick pillar that supported the parapet. The impact was enough to cause the car s air bags to inflate and these protected the driver as the car plunged into the river. Once the car had come to rest water quickly started to fill the car. As our divers arrived the drivers plight was not known so a search was made of the car, once it was confirmed no-one was inside the car they awaited the arrival of the break-down truck and assisted the wrecking crew in recovering the car from the water. Luckily the driver had remained awake throughout event and was able to escape the car as it settled. On clearing the car he had swum to the river bank and hauled himself back up to the road. There is a hotel next to the bridge and the driver managed to reach this where he was treated for his injuries and immersion by hotel staff. Incident 2: As the above was taking place the Police required another team from our rescue service to travel 20miles inland to a canal near Eastleigh,. Two children s bicycles and fishing gear had been found on the tow path but at there were no children fishing and the alarm was raised in case they had fallen into the canal. Our Landrover took with it rescue canoes and our smallest rescue boat ready to search the waters. A search was started and continued for an hour but nothing was found and the Police called off the search. To date no children have been reported missing and the incident is still open. Friday 4 th June 2004: Although the wind was forecast to be light the hot afternoon temperatures had produced a stiff sea breeze. In such conditions a middle aged kite surfer took his high performance kite & board to sea. Conditions were almost ideal for such sport and all would have been well had the kite stayed airborne. However during one manoeuvre the kite crashed back onto the sea s surface directly on top of a yacht race-marking buoy. With the lines of the kite now wrapped around this obstruction the sailor was going no where. Luckily those ashore witnessed his plight and they alert Solent Coastguard. Our Lifeboat was alongside the man16minutes after being paged. Once he knew that he was going to be safe the sailor produced a knife and cut away the kites lines enabling our crew to retrieve the kite, board and sailor into the Lifeboat. Once all was safely onboard the sailor was taken back to the shore at Lee on Solent where he was met by a representative of HM Coastguard.
20 Saturday 5 th June 2004: On the afternoon of the 5 th June 2004 the 28ft vessel Forerunner with two persons on board reported that their engine was overheating and that they needed assistance. Gosport Rescue One was tasked, this was crewed by Lifeboatman Gareth Davies. On arriving on scene Gareth transferred to the casualty craft to set up the tow line. He was in mid jump across the gap between the two craft when horror of horrors Gareth espied his pet hate. The pet in question being a dog. As reported, it was poor Gareth that had been bitten only the month before and not only was his pride injured by being bitten by a snappy terrier he had to suffer the indignity of an anti tetanus injection. Having nowhere else to land he complete his jump safely and as the skipper controlled his pooch, Gareth connected the tow line. On this occasion all was well, the dog behaved impeccably and did not even nibble our crewman as the vessel was towed back to her mooring in Portsmouth. 7 th June 2004: The crew were awoken from their beds at 0238hours this morning when the call pagers sounded. 3 youths all reported to be in high spirits had stolen a dinghy to cross the Fareham creek, having no oars they paddled the dinghy by hand until it ran aground on the other side of the creek. It was very clear to the police and coastguards that attended the area that they had successfully arrived as there were three sets of foot prints implanted in the deep mud that forms the shoreline in that location. The stink of rotting sea weed that is released when the crust on the mud is broken filled the air and you did not need a tracker dog to trace these lads. Any one 100yards down wind would easily find the lads. As such it was not too long before the 3 now less spirited, damp and smelly lads were located and arrested by the Police. As it was confirmed no-one else was at risk the Lifeboat was stood down and returned to station at 0354 hours. Thursday 9 th June 2004: A Bump in the night Having been paged from their beds the night before it was a tired team that responded to pagers on this occasion. A party of nine friends were on passage in their Princess class twin screw motor boat when all forward motion stopped with a bump. It was a clear night with little breeze to ruffle the waters of the Solent. However the coastline was dark and obtaining a visual reference to judge the crafts distance off shore was not easy. As the craft made passage for the Hamble she had made a transit too close to the shore and had run aground on a spit of land off Hill Head. HM Coastguard were advised and they paged the crew at 0138hours. Our front line, responding, Lifeboat is powered by a water jet and having no propellers it could reach the motor cruiser without itself going aground. Once on scene one Lifeboatman was put aboard the motor yacht to check her condition. A towline was passed and the Lifeboat hauled the 38ft cruiser off the sand bank. Further checks for damage were made, once it was confirmed the craft was not holed or taking water, that she still had serviceable steering and her propellers were not smashed the craft completed her passage under her own power. The Lifeboat returned to station at hours where she was washed and re-housed ready for her next task. Friday 11 th June 2004: When the novice crew took out a sail training vessel from Joint Services Sailing Centre, Gosport, the wind was but a good breeze and nearly ideal for learning to sail. By mid afternoon the wind had stiffened to a near gale force seven. The inexperienced crew did not know how to reduce sail so their over canvassed yacht became quite handful in the ever strengthening wind conditions. The skipper soon realised he was not in control and ordered the engine to be started so he could point the craft into the wind while the crew took the sails down. Alas the engine would not start so acting on the side of caution he advised HM Coastguard of his situation. HMCG paged our crew at 1501hours, the Lifeboat was alongside the craft 14minutes later and took the craft under tow for it mooring in Gosport. None of the 7 persons onboard the yacht needed medical treatment. Monday 14 th June 2004: The senior coxswain was contacted by Hampshire Police asking if they could call upon the services of our Emergency Dive Rescue Team. A water bailiff had been inspecting his angling lakes and had found a car in the silt that formed the bottom of the lake. The coxswain asked the location of these lakes and was a little surprised to be advised they were in RINGWOOD nearly 60 miles from the Lifeboat Station. It was agreed that the team would man up and travel to the incident, the team took with them the Rescue Service s smallest rescue boat which was towed behind our Land Rover. One hour and 40minutes after being tasked a dive team was ready to enter the water. The lead diver checked over the car and recovered the vehicles number plate. Police checks proved the car had been missing a long while, as no-one was in the car the team was stood down and they returned to their jobs.
21 18 th June 2004: Paged at 1208hours to assist broken down boat off Ryde sands, towed back to Lifeboat Station slipway from where the crew had launched earlier in the day. 18 th June 2004: Having been paged in the afternoon the crew were diverted during Friday night training to assist a board sailor that was reported to be in trouble off Lee on Solent. The sailor was quickly found and as he required no medical assistance was transferred back to the shore to his waiting car. 19 th June 2004: The Lifeboat had been out on routine patrol, as they prepared for recovery the crew spotted a board sailor sitting on his board. He had gone sailing earlier in the afternoon but as the wind strengthened his sail proved to be too big for the conditions and he could no longer stand on the board. The Lifeboat took the man aboard and transferred him back to the Stokes Bay Sailing club. Sunday 27 th June 2004: Strong South Westerly winds had been gusting 32 knots most of the afternoon, this produced rough sea conditions within the Solent. At 1720hours the motor vessel Seamoon sent out an urgency PAN PAN radio call on the marine distress channel to ask for assistance when her engine failed. Her call for assistance was heard at the Lifeboat Station and our Lifeboat was tasked to assist the motor yacht by HM Coastguard. Seamoon was in a precarious position being only about half a mile from the beach with the wind and waves carrying her ever closer towards the shore. The skipper realised the risk and dropped his anchor and lots of chain. With this heavy ground weight the drift towards the shore was halted. Our Lifeboat arrived within 16minutes of the man s call for assistance. It transpired the craft s engine could not be fixed so our Lifeboat towed the vessel to Hamble Point Marina. However the skipper of the yacht Mischief was not as quick to put his anchor down when he suffered steering problems off Stokes Bay. Just as the Lifeboat was completing the tow of the cabin cruiser Seamoon, The yacht Mischief became washed up on the beach outside the Stokes Bay Sailing Club. Waves were hitting her side and driving this 22ft sailing yacht ever harder onto the shore, Our Lifeboat was immediately contacted and tasked to attend the scene. The coxswain drove the Lifeboat hard in an effort to make best speed in the conditions, the tide had already turned and if the yacht was not removed quickly she would be destroyed by the constant pounding. As the Lifeboat pushed on towards the yacht in trouble she hit a larger than average wave which carried away her VHF DF antenna and damaged one of her two main VHF radio s. The conditions on the coastline were so rough that by the time the Lifeboat arrived the one of the yacht s crew fearing for his safety aboard the boat had decided to abandon the yacht and jumped into the sea where he waded ashore. Once the Lifeboat arrived one of our Lifeboatmen entered the water, swam in and climbed aboard the yacht. As the Lifeboat made a pass close by the stranded yacht a tow line was passed. The yacht was hitting the ground hard with each wave, the coxswain positioned the Lifeboat and used all of its power to pull the yacht round to face the waves. Once facing the sea the power was held until a large wave lifted the yacht enough for her to float free. With just the skipper and one of our Lifeboatmen aboard the yacht she was towed to the safety of Haslar Marina. Gosport. Checks were made during the trip and it was confirmed that the yacht s hull was still sound and she was not taking water. Representatives of HM Coastguard assisted the Lifeboat crew to berth the yacht at 2025 hours, whereupon the Lifeboat returned to station for repairs before being put back on service. 3 rd July 2004: The weather forecast predicted south-westerly winds of force 6-7 what we got was a full gale 8 causing very rough conditions within the Solent. Our duty Lifeboat crew had mustered at the boat house early and were ready for action should a call out be required: - At 1313 hours that afternoon the Sunsail charter yacht Sunsail 47 sent out a PANPAN urgency radio call on the marine Distress channel ( channel16). This was received by Solent Coastguard. The yacht s skipper reported he had been in collision with another yacht and was now taking on water. HM Coastguard requested the immediate launch of our Lifeboat Gosport Rescue One she took with her a salvage pump and damage control equipment in an attempt to keep the yacht afloat. Once all were safe the Lifeboat returned to the stricken boat to render assistance to those working to try and save the vessel. For nearly an hour these crews undertook damage control operations but the water ingress was too great and the yacht sank at 1429hours. (taking with it much of our damage control gear).
22 Just before the yacht sank the Lifeboat lifted off the skipper and the two Lifeboatmen that had tried so hard to keep the yacht afloat. As there was now a new wreck in the Solent a safety broadcast was made and its position charted as a hazard to shipping. All the persons aboard the yacht although shocked and stressed by the incident did not need medical attention. 3 rd July 2004: No sooner had the Lifeboat been recovered and refuelled from the last incident when HM Coastguard requested the immediate launch of the Lifeboat to a yacht with steering failure which had been blown aground near Brown Down military range. The gale force winds were still blowing hard when this 41ft yacht alerted the emergency services by activating the latest thing in marine rescue systems, a VHF DSC alerting device. This computerised distress system alerted the Coastguard and gave the yachts position and identity. With this information our Lifeboat was soon on scene to find another rescue unit also attending the incident but as she had suffered total communications and radio failure she could not advise anyone she was attempting to render assistance. As this rescue unit took the craft under tow we placed a Lifeboatman aboard the yacht to rig up a temporary steering system. Once this was complete the club rescue boat continued the towing of the yacht into Portsmouth Harbour, leaving our Lifeboat free to undertake her next tasking:- 3 rd June 2004: The wind had not moderated when at 1548hours a high speed RIB reported to Solent Coastguard that she was standing by a dismasted 38ft yacht that could not report her problem as now her radio antenna was in the sea. HM Coastguard requested we divert to assist. We arrived alongside the yacht at 1559hours. By this time the mast had sunk and the skipper had cut away most of the rigging allowing the yacht to free herself from the weight of the mast. However she was still caught up in the ropes that had wrapped around her keel. On investigation a line was found still hanging over the ship s side, once this was cut the mast dropped clear allowing the yacht to make passage to Cowes using her engine. Once it was confirmed that all aboard the yacht were uninjured as the mast fell and that the skipper was happy to motor to safety, the craft was cleared to make her own way and the Lifeboat returned to station. The wrecked mast positions was noted and passed to the Queen s Harbour Master so a safety broadcast could be made to warn other ships of the hazard.