A GREEN laser was shone at a lifeboat crew while they carried out exercises in the Solent.
Volunteers from the Portsmouth RNLI Lifeboat Station, in Eastney, had to quickly turn away from shore when the light illuminated the vessel.
Helmsman Neil Maxwell quickly recognised what the green light was and advised the crew to turn away and not look at it.
He was able to turn the boat in the opposite direction to avoid the dangers of the laser.
The incident happened around 9pm last night.
Neil, who has been with the lifeboat station for seven years, said: ‘We were about three-quarters of a mile from shore when all of a sudden the boat was completely illuminated by a very bright light from shore.
‘I could see it was a laser and told the crew to turn away. We had to keep going in the other direction to keep out of its way.
‘I called the lifeboat station to tell them what was going on and they called the police.’
Neil, 47, then radioed through to the second lifeboat which was also out on the water. It too had been targeted by the laser.
‘It must have been a very powerful laser to reach us so far from shore,’ Neil added.
‘It shone on us for a couple of minutes and could have caused harm to the crew if I hadn’t recognised what it was.
‘I have heard about the dangers these lasers can cause to pilots and how some have gone blind from them.
‘Fortunately this happened while we were on exercise, if we had been in the middle of a rescue to save someone it could have hindered our efforts.
‘We might have lost where they were or it could have delayed us getting to them.
‘The person doing this did not know we were on an exercise. We could have crashed into other boats if it had blinded us.’
Neil said this is the first time he had experienced a laser being shone at the boats with the only other problems being youngsters throwing rocks at passing boats last year.
He thinks the perpetrators were in the car park by the Hayling Ferry pontoon, in Eastney.