A BUSY lifeboat station at the entrance to Southampton Water has opened its doors to visitors for the first time in two years.

Staff and children from Fawley Infant School became the first group to tour the Calshot RNLI complex since the start of the pandemic.

They learned about the role of the RNLI and viewed some of the equipment used on life-saving missions.

Daniel Spiers, a teacher at the school, said: "The children loved meeting all the volunteers, getting to go on the boats, and hearing about the amazing work the RNLI does. It was a wonderful experience."

Daily Echo: The lifeboat station is at the end of Calshot Spit.The lifeboat station is at the end of Calshot Spit.

Justyn Leonard, the lifeboat station's visits officer, added: "It was very special for everyone at Calshot.

"Finally being able to open our doors and welcome visitors back into the station in a safe and secure environment has been a long time coming. We're looking forward to welcoming many more members of the local community."

Calshot RNLI has answered thousands of call-outs since the lifeboat station was opened in the 1970s.

The service had been operational for only three weeks when the volunteers received their first "shout".

Daily Echo: Calshot RNLI takes part in another rescue.Calshot RNLI takes part in another rescue.

The SS Oriana was on her way to Australia and New Zealand when she suffered a fire in her boiler room. She was able to return to Southampton with Calshot lifeboat standing by alongside, but the damage caused by the blaze took two weeks to repair.

A much more serious incident took place two months later when the Pacific Glory collided with another tanker off the Isle of Wight, causing a huge fire.

Calshot lifeboat saved 11 people but 13 others lost their lives.

On July 27 1998, a Catalina flying boat was attempting to land on water when one of its floats exploded, which resulted in the aircraft sinking. Two people were killed, including the mayor of Southampton, Cllr Mike Andrews.

Despite being a non-swimmer Cllr Andrews, 51, helped save the lives of fellow passengers but was unable to escape himself.

One of the more recent incidents involved the car carrier Hoegh Osaka, which developed a severe list after leaving Southampton on January 3 2015.