A privately-run RIB service that rescues up to 200 cruising sailors a year is in danger of ceasing operations

A privately-run RIB service that rescues up

to 200 cruising sailors a year is in danger of ceasing operations.

The Hayling Island Rescue Service, run by

solo Samaritan Frank Dunster, costs £3,500 a year in fuel alone, yet when

yachtsmen are towed to safety by his 29ft RIB they think it’s all part of the

RNLI and never offer to pay any expenses!

‘The commercial boats, such as angling

charters, are always grateful I’m there and offer me cash towards my running

costs, but yachtsmen just stay silent hoping there’s no charge,’ said Frank,

62, who cashed in his City pension early so that he could buy a rescue boat

back in 1984.

Frank is on duty 24 hours a day, all year

round and will tend to anything from a yacht breaking adrift from her moorings,

to a rope-fouled propeller. He operates from Portsmouth to Selsey on the South

Coast.

Frank, a former RNLI coxswain, of the

Hayling Island Lifeboat, has been decorated with one silver and two bronze

medals for his daring rescues. But when age forced him to retire from the

charity he decided to set up his own rescue service. Unlike Sea Start, which

costs £150 annually, Frank’s service is free at the point of entry, usually the

yachtsman’s stem!

‘I try to keep the running costs as low as

possible,’ Frank said, ‘but I had a starter motor go recently and that set me

back £1,000 and a new exhaust manifold is £2,500.’

His 15-year-old boat, powered by a 250hp

Perkins diesel water jet, needs new tubes and floor. Now, an e-book has been

launched, which is hoped will stump up enough cash to keep the service going. The Confessions of Hayling Rescue is

edited by yachtsman Tony Aitken, who used entries from Frank’s Facebook diary

to pen the story. All readers of Yachting

Monthly
, but especially those who sail on the central South Coast, are

urged to support the service by buying a copy for £11, via Amazon.co.uk.