Pay as you go swimmers bravely take to a chilly Solent.

Lifeboats News Release

None but the most resilient would plunge into the chilly Solent at this time of year, still less pay money for the body shivering experience.

The line up of the swimmers.

RNLI/George Chastney

The cold defying swimmers.

That is exactly what happened at Gurnard today (Sunday), however, when no fewer than 23 men and women participated in a Dare to Brave It Swim in aid of the RNLI.

The event was one of the attractions at the Little Gloster Restaurant’s annual Christmas market. After each made a £10 donation to the life-saving charity, the swimmers, some wearing wet suits and others in conventional swimwear, gingerly took to the water to round two offshore buoys.

Despite the challenging 8.7 centigrade water temperature, every participant managed to complete the swim, and so earn their very own winner’s rosette.

Cowes RNLI’s Atlantic 85 lifeboat was in attendance for the event, with each crew member, including helm Neil Archer, getting into the seasonal spirit by decorating their helmets with artificial antlers.

Altogether £310 was raised from the swimmer entries and a bucket collection from the event, which was organised by crew member Andrea Vaughan.

The RNLI's presence was also apparent in the Little Gloster, with local Guild members manning a stall selling items from the local RNLI shop.

On lookers cheer on the brave swimmers.


The swim gets underway, with Cowes lifeboat standing by.
Antler wearing crew members of the lifeboat.

RNLI/George Chastney

Cowes lifeboat crew, sporting antlers.
Taken in the lifeboat, showing the helmets with antlers.


The antler adorned helmts, in Cowes station.
Stall manned by volunteers at the Little Gloster.

RNLI/George Chastney

The RNLI's stall at the Little Gloster event.

Key facts about the RNLI

The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates over 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.

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Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or by email.