Isle of Wight rescue boat punctured 17 times by vandals
A lifeboat has been punctured 17 times by vandals on the Isle of Wight.
The small inflatable craft, used by Freshwater Independent Lifeboats, was discovered deflated on Tuesday and is one of two vessels used by the charity.
Vice president Don Wright said it would have an impact on people living on the west of the island as the other boat was a 25-minute drive away in Yarmouth.
The charity is hoping to repair the boat temporarily with a rubber strip until a replacement can be found.
Due to its small size, the boat is used to recover bodies following cliff deaths and to rescue stranded dogs.
It is thought the boat was damaged by a dart.
Mr Wright said: "Whoever has done this mindless act has done it against the west Wight people, there's no sense in it.
"It's used for close inshore work along the back of the Wight because of the rocks you can't get a conventional boat in, the flat-bottom boat is idea for that sort of thing.
"The only way to get into them is by these inflatables.
"I can't see why they did it. We are out to help people, not to cause trouble."
The Freshwater Lifeboat launches on average 30 times each year to assist the Coastguard.
Last year it helped more than 200 people in difficulty at sea and around the shore.