A RIB, which was acting as safety cover for dinghy students outside Portsmouth Harbour, had to be rescued by the Gosport & Fareham Inshore Rescue Service (GAFIRS) after it broke down

GAFIRS rescuers were called out by the UK Coastguard yesterday (15 February 2017) afternoon after a safety boat broke down outside Portsmouth Harbour.

The RIB was providing safety cover to three sailing dinghies – all double manned by students.

The volunteer lifeboat crew were called out just after 1500 to assist the 4.5-metre RIB, which had broken down in the Swashway, just outside the harbour entrance.

It was unable to carry out its duties after its engine stopped and couldn’t be restarted.

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A spokesman for GAFIRS said: “We were soon on scene and able to assist the broken down vessel by attaching a tow line. We then towed the RIB back into the harbour and ensured the sailing vessels were able to also safely navigate the busy shipping channel.”

The RIB and dinghies were escorted across the harbour to Camber Dock, Old Portsmouth, where they were all recovered back to shore.

Volunteers with GAFIRS escort dinghies in Portsmouth Harbour

The broken down RIB. Credit: GAFIRS

In total, the operation lasted two hours and was GAFIRS’ seventh of the year.

It took the service’s tally of rescues up to four in the last two weeks alone.

On February 4 2017, GAFIRS helped free a fishing vessel that had snagged its propeller in The Solent.

Volunteers assisted the crew of another fishing boat on 6 February 2017 after the vessel had suffered engine failure in Stokes Bay.

On 8 February 2017, GAFIRS helped police with an incident with a vulnerable person in Portsmouth Harbour.

Last year, the independent lifeboat station attended 112 incidents.

Based at Stokes Bay, Gosport, GAFIRS is manned entirely by volunteers and is on call to the Coastguard 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.