Man Rescued After Boat Capsizes In Christchurch Harbour
Published on 25th December 2013

Sun 22nd December, Phil Hudson and Dave Budd, of the Christchurch Maritime Volunteer Service (MVS), were carrying out routine maintenance on the 'Luke Taylor' patrol launch moored just off Christchurch Quay when they were attracted by shouts from ashore. Someone was in the water and in trouble. Downing tools, they launched the D-Class moored alongside and sped to the scene where a fellow boater was clinging to the side of his upturned boat and dinghy.  

It appears that he had gone out to his boat in a small dinghy and, at the point of clambering aboard both had capsized due to the amount of water in the boat from recent downpours.  Luckily he had attracted the attention of walkers on the Quay who promptly alerted the MVS on their patrol boat.  Although cold, and obviously soaked, the boater seemed in good spirits, recovering quickly from his ordeal, but declining a call for an ambulance, preferring to quickly warm up in his nearby car.  

As the tide was still quite high and the water temperature was very cold, it was very fortunate that the MVS members were at hand, as hypothermia could have resulted from even a short exposure.  Also this incident should be a warning to always wear a lifejacket, even if it is a short paddle from shore, as you never know when to expect the unexpected.

Bournemouth Air Festival 2013
Published on 1st October 2013

This year's show was the most successful ever, with an estimated 1.3 million people attending over the 4 days and over 900 boats watching from the sea. Our unit together with crews from the Poole and Portsmouth Units were on duty for all four days keeping pleasure vessels out of the air display exclusion zone.  Members manned Poole launches Tom Sherrin, Avocet, their RIB Trevora, plus the shore based recruitment stand. 

This year we were really fortunate with ideal weather and sea conditions. Each day crews moved out to the Exclusion Zone to be on station one hour before the flying commenced. Duties also included the maintenance of an exclusion zone around the royal navy ship prior to their helicopter departure and on three occasions we were tasked to go to the assistance of pleasure vessels with 2 requiring a tow back to Poole.

MVS Boat Named in Memory of Local Marine
Published on 23rd July 2013

The memory of Sgt Luke Taylor, a Burton marine killed in Afghanistan, will be kept alive after the Christchurch unit of the Maritime Volunteer Service (MVS) named their latest boat after him.  On Sunday 21st July 2013, Luke’s widow Niki and five year old son Roan, were joined by around 40 family, friends and comrades along with MVS members to officially name the Wilson Flyer moored on the pontoon near to the Christchurch Rowing club.

The service was attended by uniformed marines and senior officers who paid tribute to Luke and the boat was blessed by Christchurch Priory vicar, the Rev Christopher Mann.  Following the naming, the boat took Niki and Roan and family members around the harbour.  The ceremony was followed by a BBQ at the rowing club with food kindly donated by Waitrose, Marks and Spencer and the Co-Op

The Wilson Flyer hull was originally donated by Poole company Boatylicous and recently underwent refurbishment and fitting. It can now be regularly seen on the waters around Christchurch. The MVS Luke Taylor, along with the MVS Tony Wilcox (ex RNLI D-CLass inshore lifeboat),  are used to train people and provide practical boating experience to promote the safe use of powerboats as well as provide Christchurch Harbour safety & security patrols and rescue assistance when required. 

New Simulator Aids Boat Safety In Christchurch
Published on 2nd February 2013

AN innovative scheme designed to improve the safety of boat users on waters around Dorset has been launched in Christchurch. Christchurch Maritime Volunteer Service (MVS) has built its own simulator for power boat users to train on and improve their skills before they get on the water. 

The simulator teaches MVS members the basic manoeuvres as well as how to deal with certain situations on the water. It also teaches night navigation, approaches in fog, collision risk assessment and other vital lessons to ensure safety on the water. And it is anticipated the scheme will be opened up to other local groups as well.

Mark Stapleton, head of the MVS Christchurch unit said: 

“We promote safety on the water and security for the boating community. This simulator is going to improve safety on our coastline, which 
is the busiest in the country. It’s training our members at the unit and has already proved to be a great addition. It gives us the chance to train up the boaters with boat handling and navigation information but with no danger to craft or person. It is going to be really valuable and bring a lot more safety to local waters. Hopefully it will also bring new members to us – people who have just bought boats and want some support. What people don’t sometimes realise is that you don’t need a licence to drive a boat but the danger of mishandling one is still there. We are hoping to expand the scheme once it gets going – we have interest from the Sea Cadets and this could be a great tool for the community in years to come.”

Ray Smith, head of training at MVS Christchurch, who designed the simulator, said: “When I first joined the MVS we took people from learning on charts, straight onto a boat. With the simulator we now provide land based grounding in both boat handling and visual navigation.

Christchurch MVS Thwarts Boat Thieves
Published on 12 October 2011

TWO members of the Christchurch unit of the MVS discovered a stolen boat on the River Stour less than an hour after thieves had taken the vessel from its mooring.

Mark Stapleton and Sam Cottingham, both volunteers with the Christchurch Maritime Volunteer Service, were out on patrol when they saw a boat pulled up on a river bank between Tuckton and Iford bridges.

Mark and Sam recognised the Dory as belonging to a local fisherman and went over to have a look. On closer inspection they saw it had been damaged with the fuel can thrown out and cables ripped from the outboard motor. There were also signs of attempts to set fire to the vessel.

Sam Cottingham (front) and Mark Stapleton of the Maritime Volunteer Service in Christchurch who recovered a stolen boat within an hour of it being taken

The two volunteers, who are part of a team of around 20 keeping an eye on the waters around Christchurch, called the police who sent their maritime unit from Poole. The discovery is likely to have saved the owner thousands of pounds. “We reckon there may be a few hundred pounds’ worth of damage, but that’s nothing compared to the cost of a new motor or the entire boat,” said Mark.

Sam added: “The owner was really grateful. He didn’t notice it was missing and the whole thing was sorted in an afternoon.”

The Christchurch unit was set-up three years ago and is always looking for new volunteers; no previous experience is required as training is provided. They meet up every Monday evening at Christchurch Fire Station and put their training into practice on the water at weekends from Christchurch Quay.

David Dale, head of the MVS unit for Christchurch and Bournemouth said: “They are doing great work here every time they go out. They are providing a reassuring presence to advise and assist people. And they are making the waters safer.”

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