Courageous students, sponsored by Chemring Marine to swim across the Solent, found just why marine distress signals are a vital safety aid.
During the gruelling 2hour 10minute swim by five Portsmouth Grammar School sixth-formers, across one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world, thick fog engulfed the 3.5miles of water, so it was crucial that their safety boats were equipped with Chemring Marine flares.
Max Yoward, Dan Wickam, Rob Tusler, Freddie Hooper, Toby Finneran and teacher John Baker raised £3,500 for British Armed Forces war wounded charity, Help for Heroes, with £500 coming from Hampshire-based Chemring Marine, the world’s leading marine distress signal company.
Victoria Jones, Chemring Marine Marketing Coordinator met the PGS Swimming Team the morning after the swim to find out how they got on.
“The boys and their teacher John Baker were in high sprits and were surprisingly full of energy considering what they had endured less than 24 hours before. The best part of the day for them was approaching the finish line back at Gilkicker Point in Gosport where their friends and families were cheering them on from the shore.”
Chemring Marine Managing Director Justine Heeley says, “As a top marine safety company based in Hampshire, we wanted to reward the boys’ commitment and dedication to a worthy cause and ensure they stayed safe in the Solent.”
The A-Level students chose to take up the Solent challenge from Gosport to Ryde as none had swum since childhood. The boys trained in the sea and a local pool five times a week for seven months and had to regularly wake at 6am. During their swim, the sea temperature was 16 degrees C (60 degrees F) and the boys were kitted out in wet suits, swimming goggles and hats.
The youngsters chose to raise money for Help for Heroes as it is the school’s bursary fund charity. In addition, three of the students are in the Territorial Army and two want to join the Army when they leave school.
Chemring Marine’s comprehensive range of Comet products has been helping to save lives for more than 50 years and is specified by the world’s navies, merchant fleets, fishing vessels, rescue services, airlines and leisure craft. The company is at the forefront of campaigning for improved global marine safety regulations, including introducing standardised rules on replacing dated safety products.