GAFIRS is an independent Inshore Rescue Service that provides
free marine rescue cover in the Solent, from Portsmouth Harbour to
Titchfield Haven. It's lifeboat crews are on call with Solent Coastguard
24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Last year (2000) the service was called
120 times, making it one of the top ten busiest lifeboat stations in the
All of the crew are volunteers and give freely of their time to aid the
service. GAFIRS is unique in that not only does it use its training
skills to teach the lifeboat crews but, as a fully approved RYA Training
Centre, undertakes training of local Fire Officers, yachtsmen, SCUBA
divers and fishermen.
Although the Gosport and Fareham Inshore Rescue Service was established
in 1969 to protect those at sea in the Eastern Solent, it is regularly
called upon in times of flooding. The lifeboat crews, shore helpers and
cadets undertake community work both during and after storms by clearing
fallen trees, using small boats to take householders from their flooded
homes or rescuing people stranded in their cars.
It costs £35,000 a year to run this service. This does not include
capitol projects, such as fund raising for a new lifeboat or the
replacement of equipment.