‘Solar Heritage’ trip goes up in smoke

Boats Launched : Atlantic 85 and D-class

Date : Friday 12 July

Launched at : 19:50

Returned at : 21:10

Weather : Lovely evening with SE Force 2 breeze

On the evening of Friday 12 July Hayling Island RNLI Lifeboats went to the aid of the Chichester Harbour Conservancy vessel ‘Solar Heritage’  on a birthday trip for local resident 50 year old Mr Smaller.

On a lovely summer evening 15 guests of Mr Smaller including his son Laurence who is a Harbour Patrol Officer, set off in the sunshine to enjoy a peaceful cruise on Chichester Harbour. Suddenly one of the two low HP electric engines on the solar powered Aquabus C60 catamaran began to produce clouds of smoke. The crew put out a Mayday call and Solent Coastguard requested the Hayling lifeboats to respond.

Both the Atlantic 85 and the D-Class lifeboats went to the scene and found ‘Solar Heritage’ close to the Camber Beacon limping back under the power of one engine towards Itchenor. In case any further fire occurred the 15 passengers were all evacuated onto the Atlantic 85. Senior Helm Colin Parkes said ‘When we arrived the passengers were very pleased to see us. They were all wearing lifejackets and rather enjoyed being evacuated to the lifeboat. One guest said this would be a birthday party they would never forget!’

When Frank Dunster who operates as Hayling Rescue arrived, eight of the birthday guests were taken onto his rib who took them to Itchenor Pontoon. Both lifeboats then escorted the Aquabus back to Itchenor and the remaining passengers were put ashore. The catamaran was met by Selsey Coastguards and the West Sussex Fire & Rescue service who went aboard to confirm that there was no fire in the engine compartment. So an exciting evening for the birthday party and one fortunately with no serious consequences.



Service Numbers 2019

Total Launches: 84
Atlantic 85: 42
D-Class: 42

Services Totals

2015 - 67
2014 -77
2013 - 86
2012 - 77

Tide Times
Tide Times & Heights for Chichester Harbour (Entrance) on Thursday, 21 January 2021
High Tide: 05:00 ( 4.10m )
Low Tide: 10:32 ( 2.00m )
High Tide: 17:20 ( 3.90m )
Low Tide: 23:01 ( 2.00m )
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