A RESCUE operation was launched after a boat caught fire in the Solent.

Smoke filled the cabin of the vessel and Gosport & Fareham Inshore Rescue Service (GAFIRS) rescued the two crew before boarding the boat.

The vessel was about a mile off Browndown, Gosport, when it issued an emergency distress call just after 1pm on Sunday.

GAFIRS coxswain Peter Byford said: "Opening the engine hatch could have caused the fire to get worse.

"The vessel’s fire extinguisher had snuffed out the flames so we decided to tow the vessel to Portsmouth Harbour where the fire service could investigate further."

The boat was pulled into Camber Dock and firefighters used breathing apparatus before confirming that it was safe to move.

The rescue lasted three hours and was GAFIRS' 106th incident of the year.