RNLI lifeboats were called to the rescue of a couple 'pinned up' against the Sandbanks chain ferry yesterday afternoon.

The lifeboats were launched just after 5pm on Wednesday, July 21, to a vessel that was pinned up against the chain ferry with potentially two people injured.

The Atlantic was the first lifeboat on the scene  - two crew members went on board the chain ferry to check on the casualties and administer first aid.

The vessel in trouble was a 16ft Cornish shrimper - prior attempts to get the boat unlodged from the ferry had resulted in the shrimper losing its shroud (shrouds are pieces of standing rigging which hold the mast up from side to side), then the mast had fell on the occupants.

The ferry operator's quick thinking ensured the stricken vessel did not go under the lifting ramp - by lowering the ramp the ferry crew were able to trap the stricken boat securely and help the two people safely on board the ferry.

Bournemouth Echo:

Picture: RNLI

The crew from the Cornish shrimper were shaken but okay, according to an RNLI spokesperson. 

The Chain Ferry was on the Studland side and the tide had been coming in so the boat was pinned on the seaward side.

The lifeboat crew asked the chain ferry captain to lift the ramp to release the vessel and the D Class lifeboat was standing by.

A spokesperson for the RNLI said: "The shrimper popped out like a cork and drifted off, freed with the tide, the D Class was in position to catch it and then took it back under tow to Parkstone Bay Marina.

"The Poole Coastguard Rescue Team had arrived on scene at the North Haven side to greet the casualties, but there was a change of plan and the Atlantic took the casualties on board the lifeboat and took them to Parkstone Bay Marina where they were reunited with their vessel." 

The Chain ferry resumed its service and the lifeboats returned back to station, after a thorough wash down and refuelling, both lifeboats were made ready for service by 7.30pm.

Then just before 9.30pm, the lifeboats were called again to a report that a dinghy with two people on board was seen drifting some 300 metres off Bournemouth Pier.

The first informant had been on the pier and there was another report of someone swimming out to a dinghy.

The lifeboat volunteers arrived on scene and began a thorough search, conditions were flat calm, the light was fading but it was light enough to see clearly.

After an extensive search, there was no sign of a dinghy, so the lifeboat crew spoke to people who were out and about, and they also concurred that nothing untoward had been seen.

The lifeboat was then tasked to Boscombe Pier, in case the first informer had confused the names of the Pier's location, but once more, nothing untoward was found.

Southbourne Coastguard were also on scene on the beach.

Sometime later, the search was deemed inconclusive, so the UK Coastguard requested that the lifeboat crew returned to station.