During the summer Chiswick RNLI lifeboat was called to several vessels in difficulties. With 870 horsepower from twin diesel engines the E class lifeboat, is capable of towing large steel barges weighing over 90 tons, while the water jet propulsion allows gentle and accurate manoeuvring.
The E-Class, which was specially designed for work in the capital proved its worth in August when a large dutch barge lost power near Barnes. A 90 ton vessel drifting with the tide is a serious hazard to other river users. The crew were able to set up an alongside tow and easily take the barge to a safe mooring despite the huge difference in size. A few days later the crew had to recover a 2 storey houseboat which had came adrift.
A week later a motor cruiser lost power off Strand on the Green but there was a fast running incoming tide sweeping it towards Kew Bridge. The quick thinking skipper immediately deployed the anchor and the vessel came to a stop a few metres from the bridge abutments. In this position the vessel was an obstruction for other river traffic passing through the central arch of the bridge.
Chiswick RNLI lifeboat crew set up an alongside tow, helped the boat’s crew raise the anchor and took it to safety at Chiswick Quay Marina.
Helmsman Tony Coe commented ‘The hot summer weather this year brought many more people onto the Thames in a range of craft. We would encourage anyone taking a vessel onto the river to ensure it is well maintained as it is very easy to get caught out by the swift currents. The RNLI has many sea safety volunteers who advise boat owners on safety equipment and boat checks as well as running lifejacket clinics. Anyone can contact the RNLI to find out more: rnli.org/safety/what-we-can-do-for-you