Thursday, 24 April 2014


A holidaymaker was rescued when she got into difficulty in the sea after being cut off by the tide at Steinish in the Outer Hebrides.

Stornoway Coastguard was alerted by a local resident as the incident unfolded around 3:30pm yesterday.  Two local coastguard rescue teams used specialist water rescue equipment – including drysuits and rope – to safely recover the woman.

Murdo Macaulay, Watch Manager at Stornoway Coastguard, said: 

“The woman was rescued within 16 minutes of us receiving the initial call.

“She was tired from her ordeal, but didn’t sustain any injuries.

“We advise people to check the weather and tides before they set out.”

Wednesday, 23 April 2014


Coastguards want people to enjoy the British coastline, but they also want people to be able to go home at the end of their day.  When something goes wrong at the coast, it can spoil more than a nice day out, so listen to their advice and you can both enjoy and stay safe at the coast.
The first thing to do is to check the weather and tides, you don’t want to hit the beach on a rainy day, or get cut off when the tide comes in.  It will also let you know if you need sunscreen, your trip home can ruined by sunburn!
You want to wear the right sort of clothing and footwear for a trip to the coast, a coastal walk will need different clothes to laying on the beach, so it’s a good idea to plan ahead.  And also be responsible about alcohol consumption, and try to go to a lifeguarded beach and listen to the advice they give you when there.
If you have children with you, it’s a good idea to keep them well supervised, they may not be able to spot some of the dangers as easily as you.  Agree a recognisable meeting point in case they lose track of where you are on the beach.  You may want to take advantage of local wristband schemes for younger children, speak to the lifeguards, they should be able to help in this.
Blow up boats and toys are great fun in the swimming pool, but we do not recommend their use at the seaside, because they can easily be blown out to sea.
If people do find themselves being swept out to sea, our advice is to stay with the boat or toy and shout for help, waving arms if possible. Do not attempt to swim for shore if out of your depth. Ideally make sure that someone ashore is keeping an eye on you.
If you decide to go for a coastal walk, make sure that you are properly equipped for walking along coastal paths. In particular remember to wear sturdy shoes or boots and check the weather forecast before you set out.
Don’t try and climb up or down a cliff unless you have the right equipment and have been trained in using it.  Cliff edges can be slippery, crumbly and prone to collapse so it’s a good idea to stay away from them as well.
And look out for mud, it may be great for the skin, but when you stuck in it, it’s no laughing matter.  If you do get stuck in it, try to spread your weight as much as possible, avoid moving and stay calm. 
Finally, if you do get in trouble, or if you think you see someone else in trouble, call 999 and ask for the Coastguard, we really are the experts in the coastal and maritime rescue. 
Don’t attempt a rescue or try to rescue yourself and try and discourage others from doing so, you could all become stuck or casualties yourself as well. 

Tuesday, 22 April 2014


Two men have been rescued after their small dinghy overturned in the Firth of Clyde. 
They clung onto the hull before being swept away from the dinghy by the choppy waves. 

Belfast Coastguard asked a Royal Navy minesweeper on patrol near Ailsa Craig, which lies about 10 miles off the Scottish coast, to rescue the men there this afternoon. 

The men let off a distress flare to guide HMS Blyth to them. Girvan all-weather lifeboat, Girvan Coastguard Rescue Team, and the Royal Navy helicopter from Prestwick also attended the incident. 

Liam Colquhoun, Watch Manager at Belfast Coastguard, said: 

“The minesweeper rescued the two casualties within 20 minutes of the initial call being made. 

“They were cold and wet and were checked over by the minesweeper’s medical team. They weren’t injured. 

“Fortunately, they were wearing lifejackets and carrying flares.” 

The two men are being taken back to Girvan in the all-weather lifeboat.

Photo from the Royal Navy.


Coastguards are reminding people to keep their dogs on leads near cliff edges after Benji spent 24 hours at the bottom of a cliff.
Coleraine Coastguard Rescue Team had just helped return an ill man to safe ground when the call came in that someone was about to attempt to recover their dog.  Almost 24 hours earlier, Benji had gone over the cliff and his owners feared the worst.
They returned the next day and were about to climb down when Belfast Coastguard was alerted and paged the Coleraine Team, who set up their specialised rope rescue equipment.  When they arrived at the base of the cliff they discovered Benji alive and returned him to his owners at the top of the cliff. 
Station Officer Chris Little from Coleraine Coastguard Rescue Team said: 

“This rescue shows just how important it is for dog owners to keep their dogs on leads near cliff edges and why you should never attempt a self rescue unless trained and equipped to do so.  
“Cliff edges can be slippery and crumbly, and your dog can be distressed and difficult to carry.  We use our specially designed bags to carry dogs up cliffs so that they don’t get injured, and we always carry dog biscuits to help calm them down.
“Benji was happy, lively and appeared to be uninjured when we rescued him, but his owners were advised to get him checked by a vet to be on the safe side.
“Thankfully this incident had a happy ending, but if your dog goes over a cliff at the coast, call 999 and ask for the Coastguard.  We have the skills and training to bring your dog back to you, without you risking injury to yourself.”

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.