Gillingham to Southampton – keep turning right

A boater had to be rescued after believing he could make it to Southampton without charts by keeping the coast to his right

A motorboater who thought he was sailing around the coast of the UK but was in fact circling the Isle of Sheppey off the coast of Kent had to be rescued by the RNLI earlier this month after running out of fuel.

It is believed the 45-year-old gentleman bought his 20-odd-foot motor boat online, and set off from Gillingham thinking he could reach Southampton on one 20lt tank of fuel.

He didn’t take any charts or navigational equipment, instead thinking that if he kept the coast to his right, he could navigate into the North Sea, through the Dover Straits and onto the Solent.

But his plan came undone when he ended up sailing round the eight-mile-wide Isle of Sheppey for a day and a half before running out of fuel.

Recommended videos for you

He told rescuers that since he could drive to Southampton on one tank of fuel, he could make the same journey by boat on just one tank.

Coastguard Ian Goodwin said: “We passed on relevant safety advice and advised him that the best way to Southampton would be by train.

“However, he said he would get some fuel and get under way but asked us if he went left or right when he came out of the Swale.”

Photo: RNLI/Barry Crayford