Someone on shore notified Solent Coastguard that the men were aboard a small red yacht which appeared to be either aground or anchored. The lifeboat, which launched at 19:35, arrived to find the yacht illuminated by a spotlight from a Southampton Harbour launch.
The yacht’s crew were clearly inexperienced – the boat was in a poor condition, had no navigation lights, no safety equipment, and a line – which could be fishing gear – was wrapped around the propeller.
With the knowledge that a cruise ship from Southampton could soon be passing nearby, the lifeboat crew decided to waste no time in towing the boat to Trinity Landing, Cowes, where the men were interviewed by Newport Coastguard Initial Response Team.
The lifeboat returned to station at 20:50.