Choppy Waters Leave Damsels In Distress

Chiswick RNLI rescue Oxford Ladies during training session

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Chiswick RNLI rescue Oxford Ladies

Women's Boat Race Joins the Men's on April 11

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While passing through Putney on exercise yesterday morning, the crew of the Chiswick RNLI Lifeboat noticed some unusual manoeuvrings on the water just beyond Fulham railway bridge.

A few moments later they realised that an eight had swamped and the coaches were in the process of removing athletes to a nearby barge. Strong wind against tide had created choppy conditions and three successive waves poured over the boats' riggers, creating an influx of water that could not be managed by the craft's bilge pump.

Chiswick RNLI rescue Oxford Ladies during training session

The Oxford crew and their cox were boarded onto the Chiswick lifeboat and returned to Putney. The sunken eight was then recovered by three coach’s launches and safely returned to Oxford’s base.

RNLI helmsman Ian Owen commented:‘While we have rescued quite a number of rowers over the years, this is the first time I’ve been involved in helping such a prestigious team. The weather can be unpredictable on the Thames, and the Oxford University team dealt with the situation as safely and calmly as possible. We wish them all the best for their upcoming race.’

Chiswick Lifeboat always has a busy day during the Boat Race, on several occasions in the past they have picked up overenthusiastic supporters from the river. This year the crew will also be overseeing the RNLI’s Alternative Boat Race on the day before, 10 April. 250 sponsored model Lifeboats will be completing the final stages of the Boat Race course with the help of the incoming tide. The winning sponsor will be able to name a new D class lifeboat. There are still a few boats available to sponsor.

The Alternative Boat Race can be viewed from the towpathat Barnes from 5.30. It will also be broadcast online.

April 3, 2015

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