Search and rescue teams were deployed off Bembridge this evening (Saturday) following an ocean rowing boat which ran aground on Bembridge Ledge.

Shortly before 8.40pm a red flare was seen in the night sky as crew members of the ship ‘GB Row Challenger’ declared a Mayday at the most easterly point of the Isle of Wight.

The coastal rescue boat Bembridge and the Rescue 175 helicopter both responded to the call for help, about 0.2 miles off Foreland.

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The vessel is now safely towed by Bembridge ILB, although the extent of the damage sustained is unknown.

The Coastguard helicopter, which was training in West Wight, pulled out of the incident.

UPDATE @ 9:48 PM – The rowing boat was towed into Bembridge Harbor where officers from the Bembridge Coastguard Rescue Team encountered the stricken vessel.

The 6 people on board escaped any injury.

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UPDATE @ 23:50 – The 10m vessel was confirmed to be planning to anchor at Priory Bay but ran aground on Bembridge Ledge rounding Bembridge.

A Bembridge RNLI spokesperson said tonight:

“RNLB Alfred Albert Williams (Tamar All-Weather Lifeboat 16-17) was asked to launch at 8.33pm, then RNLB Norman Harvey (D-778) a few minutes later by UK (Solent Coastguard) to locate and assist a 10m ocean rowing boat with 6 crew on board which had run aground on the Bembridge Ledge.

“As it happened, it was decided to launch the Norman Harvey and that the Alfred Albert Williams would be on standby in case she was needed later.

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“It obviously didn’t take long for the Norman Harvey to reach the stricken vessel and after making sure everyone on board was okay, he set up a tow and was able to pull the boat off the ledge.

“After carrying out a dynamic risk assessment, it was decided to tow the stricken vessel to Bembridge for the night rather than Priory Bay where it had planned to anchor for the night. After securing it to the visitors’ pontoon, the Norman Harvey returned to Lane End and was collected at 10.30 p.m.

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