This afternoon the volunteer crew of the Calshot D-Class Lifeboat were requested by HM Coastguard to assist a small sailing dinghy which had become stuck on deep mud near Ashlett Creek, with concerns for two elderly gentlemen on board.
The gentlemen had been enjoying an afternoon of isolation on the water in a Wayfarer type sailing dinghy, on a bright sunny, yet breezy, day before finding themselves in trouble.
The sailors had suffered a broken mast and ripped sail, followed by auxiliary engine failure. Soon after exhausting their efforts on restarting the engine, the boat had drifted with the falling tide and was now high and dry on deep mud near Ashlett Creek.
Alarm raised, the Calshot volunteer crew successfully located the stricken boat, and assessed not only what action should be taken in getting the two occupants to safety, but also what precautions should be taken to ensure the crew's safety in the light of the current coronavirus outbreak.
The RNLI has currently closed all its lifeboat stations and shops to visitors to ensure the charity it able to maintain its world-class lifesaving service. Although the men were not showing any symptoms of the virus the crew took sensible precautions to lessen any risk.
The lifeboat was landed at the water’s edge and kept floating in position by the helm, Mark Laughlin, and crew Damian Lester. The third crew member Sean Marsh made his way through the mud to get closer to the dinghy and was able to assess the condition of the elderly gentlemen was satisfactory.
A tow line was attached and the lifeboat crew used their experience and RNLI training, along with the power of the lifeboat’s engine to pull the dinghy off the mud and back into the water.
The dinghy was then towed to safety and both gentlemen were landed ashore.
Mark Laughlin, Helm on today’s shout said afterwards, “These are tough times for everyone. Many of us water lovers find peace and solace afloat, on our boats or even kayaks or paddleboards. But remember, no matter how much experience you have, you can get caught out on the water'. If you do get into difficulty RNLI volunteers are here 365 days a year. Call 999 and ask for Coastguard.”