The Hayling Island RNLI Lifeboats launched eighty-four times in 2019 and 21% of these were engine problems. Although there were only four incidents involving swimmers they were all serious and could have resulted in a loss of life.
Engine problems were varied and involved both yachts and motor vessels, and one Jet Ski. There were overheating problems causing scary clouds of black smoke, and burst water hoses pumping water into the boat but encouragingly this year only three who ran out of fuel. Others had electrical problems and some were close inshore at risk of being driven onto the beaches or sand bars.
Accidents like these can happen but we hope that all skippers are regularly checking their engines and keeping up thier servicing.
The long hot summer days meant that the sea and beaches were enticing and especially busy and we spent some time looking for lost children along the West Wittering shoreline. Not all chose wisely in terms of where they decided to swim however and two boys swam in the dangerous currents at the Chichester Harbour entrance, floundered, but were saved. A young man went for an evening stroll with friends on the sands off the western end of Hayling and found the tide coming in fast along a gully. No problem his friends said and in they strode finding it deeper than expected and the man could not swim. Swift action to get to him saved his life. In breaking waves by the Inn on the beach a lady became swamped and was unconscious when rescued. Fortunately she recovered in hospital.
All these incidents needed a bit more thought and the RNLI recommends that before swimming you always:
- Check the weather especially the wind direction and strength.
- Check the tide times
- Read the local signs and be aware of local hazards
- Carry a means of calling for help
- Know you limitations and learn the RNLI ‘float to live code.’ at https://www.respectthewater.com/
We wish all harbour users an enjoyable and safe 2020.