13 Dec 2021

MV Bonita, an 8,000 tonne Ecuadorian cargo boat sailing from Hamburg to Panama to go home for Christmas, was caught in a hurricane on 13 December 1981, when it sent out a distress signal. Guernsey's lifeboat was among emergency services called to the scene. 

40 years on from the Bonita rescue, ex-Coxswain Michael Scales tells his story of what happened that night when St Peter Port RNLI went to aid the cargo ship Bonita, he also looks beyond Bonita to reflect on the rescue. 

itv NEWS

16 Dec 2021

Extraordinary rescue of cargo ship crew remembered in Guernsey 40 years on.

Guernsey's RNLI is marking exactly 40 years since one of the most audacious rescue efforts in its history. On 13 December 1981, the St Peter Port lifeboat was scrambled to the aid of an 8,000 tonne Ecuadorian cargo ship which was sinking in hurricane force winds.29 crew members were rescued thanks to the bravery of the islanders involved that day.

BBC Radio Guernsey

13 Dec 2021

40 years after the rescue of the Bonita, Oscar Pearson interviews a survivor and Mike Scales the coxswain of lifeboat who rescued him. 

BBC Radio Guernsey - BonitaBBC Radio Guernsey
00:00 / 09:57
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BBC Radio Guernsey

09 Jun 2021

Interview with Colin Trowles about sailing the lifeboat to her new home at St Katharine Docks.

"We’ll be leaving Heybridge Basin around midday on Thursday 10th and heading to Burnham on Crouch. We’ll then head into the estuary Saturday morning and towards Gravesend where the boat will lie alongside Town Pier. 5202 will then head up river to arrive at St Katharine Docks around 5pm Sunday".

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00:00 / 04:11

ITV Interview

5 August 2020

Watch a video report by ITV News Anglia's Charlie Frost

The Sir William Arnold, also known as Lifeboat 52-02, has been bought by Essex lifeboat lover Colin Trowles, who wants to turn it into a floating classroom and museum.

The boat, which saved more than 200 lives during its 24 year service and is best known for the Bonita cargo ship rescue near Guernsey, is now in Heybridge Lock.

The plan was for her to be permanently docked at St Katharine Docks in London, but when lockdown was imposed, Colin docked her in his hometown of Maldon to work on her.

He will be moving her to St Katharine's next month

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BBC Radio Guernsey

15 July 2020

Today we were able to talk about the progress of the restoration of the Sir William Arnold live on BBC Guernsey’s Oscar Pearson Breakfast Show. Listen again by going to BBC Sounds App or click on the link below

Thank you Oscar for inviting me on your show!


InterviewBBC Radio Guernsey
00:00 / 07:36

BBC Radio Guernsey

January 2020

We were able to talk about the progress of the restoration of the Sir William Arnold live on BBC Guernsey’s Jenny Kendall-Tobias Show. The whole interview is 1 hour but you can listen to the 15 minute section on the Lifeboat here or catch up on the whole show on the BBC Sounds App.

InterviewBBC Radio Guernsey
00:00 / 14:36
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The Duchess of Kent on the Sir William A

The Duchess of Kent is whisked out of St Peter Port in Guernsey on the Sir William Arnold Lifeboat

Credit: ITV Channel TV

HRH Duchess of Kent

This superb piece of previously unseen footage captures the arrival of the HRH Duchess of Kent as she arrives at the quayside of St Peter Port, Guernsey to name the RNLB Sir William Arnold. She’s  then taken out on the lifeboat for a short trip with Coxswain John Petit at the helm.

Sir William Arnold 1974

Another piece of rare footage, capturing the Sir William Arnold at sea on the day of her official naming, 23rd May 1974. Over the years and following different refits, various items of equipment would be repositioned elsewhere on the boat. The white life-raft canister on the foredeck was moved to the upper steering position and the white direction finding loop aerial on the wheelhouse roof would be moved to the radar mast.

Sir William Arnold going for a spin arou

Sir William Arnold going for a spin around Jethou in 1974.

Credit: ITV Channel TV