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coweslifeboatrough400The distant sight of an apparently unmanned RIB being tossed around in choppy seas off the Hampshire shore led to Cowes RNLI lifeboat being launched to investigate yesterday lunchtime (Tuesday).

The alarm was first raised by lifeboat mechanic and crew member Mark Harker while using the station’s binoculars to carry out a precautionary search of the Solent, being swept by a Force 6 south-westerly. The white-coloured RIB was picked out in the Stanswood Bay area, west of Calshot.

After lifeboat colleagues also reported seeing no-one aboard the RIB, the station informed the National Maritime Operations Centre that it intended to launch.

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The lifeboat duly set off across the Solent at 12:44 and eventually the crew discovered there were in fact two men aboard the RIB;  happily fishing but well-hunkered down in the craft because of the wind.

The lifeboat returned to station.

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