A BOAT which had run aground in Portsmouth Harbour was pulled to safety by rescuers early this morning.
Gosport & Fareham Inshore Rescue Service (GAFIRS) was paged by UK Coastguard just before 6am to assist a 27ft sailing vessel which was stuck on the shore line of Horsea Island in Portsmouth Harbour.
The skipper of the stricken yacht was on board and had attempted to re-float it himself, but the boat was stuck fast.
The yacht had slipped its swing mooring in the harbour during the night and drifted towards the shore.
The owner, from London, had been alerted in the night and had rushed down to the south coast to retrieve his yacht - but he soon realised it was going nowhere without the help of rescuers.
GAFIRS coxswain Steve Ray said: ‘The water was very shallow around the casualty vessel so two of my crew entered the water and swam out to the boat.
‘We used a tow line to very carefully pull it free and it was soon back safely afloat with no significant damage to the vessel.’
Once free, the casualty yacht was able to restart its engine and Gosport independent lifeboat escorted the vessel back to its mooring in the harbour. In total the operation lasted two hours.
Mr Ray added: ‘The skipper was very happy to have re-floated after a long night and that, despite drifting away, his boat was still in working order.’