Friday, 18 April 2014


Two men were rescued by activating a personal locator beacon, (PLB) after their fishing boat broke down 21 miles offshore in Lyme Bay.

Portland Coastguard first had contact with the vessel Sole Trader at 8am this morning for a radio check on departure from Weymouth Harbour.  At 11.55am, the Coastguard received a 406 MHz distress signal from a beacon in the Lyme Bay area and the Coastguard rescue helicopter from Portland and Sennen RNLI lifeboat were on scene within 30 minutes. 

On arrival, it was apparent that the vessel had been taken out for sea trials with a new engine, which had stopped working.  The crew had made a VHF radio broadcast and also a VHF DSC distress call but due their distance offshore shore and being relatively low in the water these broadcasts were not picked up by anyone in the area so they activated the PLB. The Sole Trader was safely escorted back  to shore.

During the search, Coastguards were able to access the vessel details and speak to a shore contact because the beacon was correctly registered.  The owner’s wife confirmed that he and another man, both from Bristol were out in the vessel in the Lyme Bay area.

Malcolm Wright at Portland Coastguard who coordinated the rescue today says,

“The men on this vessel had the right communications equipment but were simply too far from shore to raise the alarm using VHF radio.  Fortunately they also had a PLB which they then activated and got help quickly.  Without the beacon, nobody would have known that they were in difficulty until tonight when they would have been reported overdue.”


Two men were recovered from the water this morning after their upturned boat was spotted near Bideford Bar.  One of the casualties has been confirmed as deceased.

At 11am Swansea Coastguard was contacted by a vessel which had spotted an upturned 16 foot boat near Bideford Bar.  Two local vessels went to the boat and recovered two people from the water and the casualties were transferred to Appledore RNLI lifeboat and brought ashore. 

One of the two men, who are described as in their 30’s, was confirmed as deceased at the scene. 

Two dogs were also recovered from the vessel, one of which was dead.

Swansea Coastguard Watch Manager David Hughes says,

“Unfortunately both of these men were found in the water without lifejackets on.  Lifejackets are useless unless worn because when the unexpected happens there is no time to put one on”

Wednesday, 16 April 2014


The long Easter weekend is the ideal time to get the boat back on the water and the Coastguard is calling on people to check that all is in order before setting out.

Last year, the Coastguard dealt with 189 incidents in the four days from Good Friday to Easter Monday. One of the most common calls was for boats that had broken down or suffered some sort of machinery failure.

Richard Martin, Chief Coastguard, said:

“When a boat has been out of action over the winter months, it is important to check that everything is ship shape before taking to the water for the first time.

“The UK coastline is a great place to enjoy and has a lot to offer at this time of year, with the days getting longer and weather improving.

“The Coastguard would encourage people to make the most of it – and to do so safely. The last thing anyone wants is that Easter holiday boat trip ending with a call for help.”

As well as checking that vessels are in good order, those taking to the water should follow simple safety measures.

Mr Martin said:

"Those heading out in a boat, canoe, kayak or other leisure vessel should wear an appropriate lifejacket or buoyancy aid.

“People should also check the weather and tide times before setting out, to make sure they are not putting themselves in danger.

“If you are thinking of swimming, make sure that you know the conditions beforehand – even calm seas can conceal strong currents.

"If you see someone in difficulty, you should call 999 straight away and ask for the Coastguard."

Apart from boats breaking down, other common calls to the Coastguard around this time last year included people cut off by rising tides or swimmers who have got into trouble in the water.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014


A man was rescued off South Devon today when a freak wave flooded part of his catamaran causing it to sink quickly. 

Brixham Coastguard took a Mayday call from the man saying that water was rapidly flooding a 
hull of his catamaran at Hope Cove, Torbay. 

The man was recovered from the vessel by Salcombe RNLI all weather lifeboat.  

The sinking 28ft catamaran was towed to Bolt Head by the lifeboat.  

The wooden wreck is unsalvageable and is expected to break up throughout the rest of the day. 
There is no threat of pollution, as there was no fuel on board. 

Salcombe Inshore Lifeboat and Hope Cove Coastguard Rescue Team also attended. 

Matt Thornhill, Watch Officer at Brixham Coastguard, said: “The man was recovered safely and didn’t sustain any injuries. 

“He was safely on the lifeboat within 24 minutes of us receiving the initial Mayday call. 

“He was well prepared with a lifejacket, flares and VHF radio equipment. 

“With the Easter holiday looming, we urge people to ensure that they have the correct equipment when setting out to sea.”

Monday, 14 April 2014


Two boys were rescued last night after becoming cut off by the rising tide whilst walking at Summerhouse Point, Llantwit Major.

Just after 6pm on Sunday 13 April 2014, Swansea Coastguard received a 999 emergency call from the two stranded youngsters.

The boys, aged 13 and 14, had been walking on the beach when they got into difficulties. Swansea Coastguard kept the boys talking on their mobile phone, reassuring them that help was on the way.

The Llantwit Major Coastguard Rescue Team and the RNLI Porthcawl lifeboat was sent to the area to locate the boys. The boys were recovered by the lifeboat and transferred to Barry dock where they were checked over by paramedics, before being reunited with their parents.

David Jones, Swansea Coastguard Watch Manager said,

"Always check the weather and tidal conditions before you set out for beach walks so that you can prepare accordingly. At sea changes in tidal streams could make conditions worse, particularly if the wind and tide are against each other.
Tidal heights may also hide underwater hazards.

"Consider whether you could become cut off by the incoming tide, and above all do not take risks. If you do get into difficulty, call 999 and ask for the Coastguard."

Friday, 11 April 2014


A Lymington Coastguard Rescue Officer has this week visited Number 10 Downing Street in recognition of his rescue work during the winter storms.

Paul Richman was part of the team that responded to the Valentine’s Day rescue at a Milford on Sea restaurant, where 32 people had become trapped.

Solent Coastguard was first contacted at 10pm on Friday 14th February 2014 when the sea flooded the Marine Restaurant and the wind picked up the shingle from the beach and smashed through the ground floor windows. 

When Paul and other members of the Lymington Coastguard Rescue Team arrived on scene, the water was flooding in to the restaurant and the front doors were bent and buckled. Nearby vehicles had overturned, beach huts smashed and the water was full of debris with waist deep waves sweeping people off their feet.

Working alongside the other emergency services, including Army personnel, the 32 restaurant customers and staff were eventually helped to safety.

Paul said:

"It was an honour to be invited to a lunch reception at Number 10 to represent the Coastguard for all our work during the winter storms. It also gave me the opportunity to meet other members of the emergency services and emergency responders, and talk about our experiences. 

“It's been a challenging few months, but my team and all at the Coastguard have worked together to try to keep people safe."

Richard Martin, Chief Coastguard, said:

“Coastguards have worked tirelessly over the winter months as storms and tidal surges have battered many parts of the UK coastline. I'd like to take a moment to thank them all for their sterling efforts in what have been very challenging conditions.

“From the staff coordinating efforts in our Coastguard centres, to those rescue officers out in their communities, so many have given up their free time to help out. Some have done so in the early hours, on Christmas Eve into Christmas Day and even spending time away from loved ones on Valentine’s Day.

“My thanks again to everyone involved in the storm rescue efforts.”


The number of diving incidents has fallen to its lowest level in 21 years, according to the latest figures from the Coastguard.

There were 136 incidents in 2013, which included 10 fatalities.

The most common incident was decompression illness, with 44 cases recorded last year. A further 21 incidents were down to rapid ascent, which is likely to have developed into decompression illness.

Other calls in 2013 included lost and / or missing divers, broken down vessels and divers with other medical problems.

Now with the Easter holidays approaching, divers are once again being reminded of essential safety advice.

Ken Bazeley, the Coastguard’s National Diving Liaison Officer, said:

“The number of diving incidents has fallen to their lowest level since 1992, but still last year we saw 10 diving fatalities. We will continue to strive for a reduction in fatalities and serious injury.

“The key message for divers is to remember to make a slow ascent, perform a safety stop and have sufficient air / gas for the dive, with enough in reserve.

“We hope divers make use of the upcoming Easter break to get out and explore the rich marine life around our coasts, but please dive within your limits.”

Decompression illness is when bubbles form in the blood or body tissue, and it can be fatal. It often occurs when divers surface too quickly, and symptoms include dizziness, blurring of vision, numbness and shortness of breath.

Annual figures:

• 2010: 230 incidents, 11 fatalities

• 2011: 196 incidents, 14 fatalities
• 2012: 177 incidents, 16 fatalities
• 2013: 136 incidents, 10 fatalities

These statistics relate to only those in which HM Coastguard coordinated the search for and rescue of those involved. National diving statistics including both open water and inland diving together with detailed analysis, are available from the BSAC (, which is the national governing body for UK sport diving.

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency is a member of the British Diving Safety Group which formed in 2002. Members promote safety and growth in the sport, providing guidance and the opportunity to enjoy the wider benefits of club and society membership.