Solent Rescue was formed 50 years ago in 1971 by auxiliary coastguards as a beach rescue unit in response to a rising level of incidents in and around Lepe country park following increased numbers of visitors each year. The founders wished to address the dangers present in and around Stone Point including very strong currents, a shale spit and Gull island (both of the latter are only visible at low tide with middle sections becoming submerged first thus leading to people getting cut off by the returning water).
Over time the unit transformed into an additional lifeboat service to the Maritime and Coastguard Agency to provide a SAR service to the many thousands of mariners that use the Western Solent each week in the summer. Our unit does not respond to pagers like the other RNLI and independent Lifeboats around the Solent (of which there are 6 RNLI stations and 7 Independent Stations), we instead look after the water at busy times operating Weekend and Bank holidays from Easter till September 8am till 5pm (later if needed), awaiting a call over vhf radio. We also operate in line with any large-scale event that is planned outside these times. Due to the way we operate, we are often able to respond to an incident faster than other stations that need to be paged as we are normally on the water training or at the station with the vessels at anchor off Lepe beach.
We operate 2 inshore boats, an Arctic 24 and an ex RNLI D class. Although we may be independent, we work closely with all other units around us to provide safety cover to one of the busiest commercial and leisure waterways in the UK (If not the world). With everything from cruise liners & cargo vessels, ferries & fast catamarans and even paddle boarders & windsurfers, we can be called upon to assist all manners of people and animals that may need us when they least expect it.
Why you should get involved
We are operational at weekends from Easter through to September, bank holidays and 7 days during the festival of Cowes week.
Our boat crew are trained in safety at sea, power boat handling, first aid and all activities required to keep a lifeboat operational and lookout manned, however, don't worry, prior knowledge of seamanship is not essential as excellent training is offered. From the day you join the crew, you will be able to help in the operation of the boat & shore operations.