Honours for Wightlink's Steve Chamberlain to recognise his bravery in rescuing a drowning man

We love good news stories and this one is truly heroic. Wightlink Deck Officer Steve Chamberlain has received two national awards for his actions in saving a man’s life by jumping into the freezing waters of Portsmouth Harbour earlier this year.

  Steve Chamberlain with the man he rescued - Terry Baker

Steve Chamberlain with the man he rescued - Terry Baker

HRH Princess Anne, the Princess Royal, presented him with the Merchant Navy Medal at a ceremony at Trinity House. He also received an Individual Commendation from the Shipwrecked Fishermen and Mariners’ Royal Benevolent Society.

  Steve Chamberlain with the  HRH Princess Anne,  Princess Royal

Steve Chamberlain with the HRH Princess Anne, Princess Royal

The awards recognised his bravery on the night of 3 February 2018 after colleagues on the ferry St Clare spotted a man in the water at around 23:00, close to Wightlink’s berth in The Camber. A life ring was thrown from the ship but he could not reach it. As the ebbing tide was swiftly carrying the man out of Portsmouth Harbour, Steve threw himself into the water to rescue him. Fellow crew members and the launch coxswain were quickly on hand to help and both Steve and the man he saved were treated for hypothermia at the Queen Alexandra Hospital.

“I wouldn’t say I was a hero, I was just in the right place at the right time but it’s nice to be congratulated and my family are very proud of me,” says Steve.

The man he plucked from the harbour, Terry Baker, was also at the Trinity House ceremony. He told The News newspaper: “Steve is an absolutely amazing man and there’s not many people around who would do what he did. I’m grateful he was there at the time because if he wasn’t – I wouldn’t be alive today.”

Steve was also honoured at the annual meeting of the Shipwrecked Fishermen and Mariners’ Royal Benevolent Society at the Clothworkers Hall in the City of London.

  Steve Chamberlain with Admiral Sir George Zambellas of the Shipwrecked Fishermen and Mariners’ Royal Benevolent Society

Steve Chamberlain with Admiral Sir George Zambellas of the Shipwrecked Fishermen and Mariners’ Royal Benevolent Society

Society Chief Executive, Captain Justin Osmond RN, says: “Without the quick-thinking and heroic actions of Steve, this incident may well have ended with a far more tragic outcome. The selfless and brave nature of his actions are what make him a much deserving recipient of this Individual Commendation.”

Wightlink Chief Executive Keith Greenfield says: “We are all very proud of the actions of everyone on board St Clare on that freezing night. Colleagues played important roles and Steve acted instinctively with little thought for his own safety to save a man’s life.”