Hamble Lifeboat was formed in 1968, as the Southampton Water Inshore Rescue Service (Hamble Rescue), by local residents in response to the increasing number of casualties occurring in Southampton Water and the Rivers Hamble, Itchen and Test.

The RNLI, who at the time had boats stationed at Yarmouth and Bembridge, were approached but had no boat suitable for the area. The nature of the area meant something fast, powerful and capable of operating in shallow water was needed.

Since its inception the service has attended, on average, 100 incidents per year, day and night, 365 days a year, in all weather conditions. Hamble Lifeboat operates in an area 15 miles long and ten miles across the widest point. It is bounded by Lee on Solent and Cowes to the east, and by Gurnard Bank and the mouth of the River Beaulieu to the west. It includes the central Solent, Southampton Water and the rivers Itchen, Hamble and Test.

These are difficult waters to navigate. The Solent has unusual double tides which create strong and complex tidal currents. The Brambles, a sand-bar at the entrance to Southampton Water, adds to the peril for the unwary or inexperienced of water sports.

The Solent waters are among the busiest in the world. In addition to high volumes of commercial traffic, they witness some of the UK's heaviest leisure use. Numerous yacht clubs and thousands of sailing boats are based in the area.

Easy access to the water, a highly populated area and the growing popularity of water sports combine to make Hamble one of the busiest lifeboats in the region.

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