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
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
‘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.