Monday, 30 March 2015


At 8.15pm the Coastguard received a Mayday call from a sailing vessel reporting that a tug had capsized at the Fawley marine terminal.  One person was seen the water and was recovered to the shore and is being treated for hypothermia.

The Coastguard coordinated a search of the area for a second crew member involving RNLI lifeboats from Lymington, Calshot and Cowes and Coastguard Rescue Teams from Southampton and Lymington and Southampton Port patrol vessel.

A second crew member was located at 8.29pm and recovered from the water to the lifeboat and has been transferred to hospital. All crew have now been accounted for and the search has finished.  

The vessel which is a commercial tug, remains capsized and sunk and weather conditions on scene tonight are strong winds and poor visibility. There is no reported pollution on scene tonight.


Two males in sea kayak canoes have been rescued by the RNLI Lifeboat from Portree after capsizing during a trip from the Isle of Raasay to The Braes on Skye.

Stornoway Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre received a 999 call at 8:50pm on Sunday evening from the mother of one of the men reporting that the pair had left Raasay House at about 8pm to paddle to The Braes on the Isle of Skye, a distance of just over a mile, but had not arrived. She also said that there had been a heavy rain squall in the area during the time of their crossing.

The Coastguard sent the RNLI Lifeboat from Portree and the Portree Coastguard Rescue Team to their last known location. While the rescue teams were on their way the mother called again. She had found both of the kayakers on the shore of the Braes peninsula but they needed help as they were both very cold.

The lifeboat rescued both the kayakers from the shore and transported them to Portree for medical attention. The Coastguard team escorted the mother and another lady safely back to The Braes.

HM Coastguard Watch Manager Martin Collins said:
“These kayakers have been very lucky. We have had wintery squalls across the area with winds gusting to over 40 mph at times and if they hadn’t made someone aware of their plans they could have been exposed to the elements for a lot longer.

“If you are heading out to sea in a kayak the Coastguard recommends that you check the weather forecast and tidal conditions before you head out, wear a buoyancy aid and carry distress flares are in date and stowed where you can reach them. For remote locations carrying a personal locator beacon is highly recommended.” 

Thursday, 26 March 2015


Nine rowers, who were out on a training exercise, have been recovered from the River Itchen near Northam Bridge this evening after their rowing skiff capsized and they were thrown into the water. The incident was coordinated by the National Maritime Operations Centre at Fareham, who requested the Calshot RNLI Lifeboat, Hillhead and Southampton Coastguard Rescue Teams to attend.

The lifeboat recovered eight people from the water and the club’s safety boat recovered a further one.

Maritime Operations Controller Ian Guy said:

“All of the rowers were recovered to the shore by the inshore lifeboat and the safety boat . Although cold and wet, they are safe and well.”

Tuesday, 24 March 2015


At the City of London Magistrates today, Colin Bullock, the Director of River Thames Boat Hire Ltd, pleaded guilty to two offences under the Merchant Shipping Act.

Mr Bullock was the owner and sole operator of the Kingwood, a Thames steamer cruise boat, built in 1915. The vessel’s Passenger Safety certificate expired on 23rd January 2013.

At approximately 9pm on New Year’s Eve 2013, the Kingwood was involved in a stern-to-stern collision while it was attempting to berth at Greenwich pier. There were no injuries and only minimal damage was sustained to the vessel. The Kingwood was due to be used as a party boat for the New Year’s celebrations despite not having a valid passenger safety certificate.

The event had been advertised online as a four and a half hour cruise embarking from Greenwich Pier. The price per passenger was £140 including alcoholic drinks, 99 tickets had been sold.  The cruise was abandoned. At the time Mr Bullock was acting as the Master of the Kingwood.

Mr Bullock was subsequently interviewed by members of the MCA Enforcement Unit and admitted that during 2013, he had carried out 30 cruises even though he was aware he had no certification. Mr Bullock’s Boat Master Licence (BML) had also expired some two years previously, he admitted carrying out 90 trips without a valid BML. Mr Bullock no longer owns the Kingwood.

The Chairman of the Bench said in passing sentence that he was concerned any insurance would have been invalidated during the 90 trips.

Mr Bullock was fined £3,000 for each offence and £5,000 costs, £120 victims surcharge totalling £11,120.

Andy Rudge, Area Operations Manager for the Maritime & Coastguard Agency said, “To ensure the safety of the travelling public it is important that passenger vessels complete safety surveys and are properly manned with qualified crew at all times.”

Monday, 23 March 2015

Fisherman breaches Prohibition Notice

At a hearing today at Weymouth Magistrates Court, the Owner/Skipper of a fishing vessel was fined a total of £500 plus costs of £1000 plus a victim impact surcharge of £50 after pleading guilty to breaches of maritime safety legislation.

The Freya May is a small wooden fishing vessel which is 6.5m in length and is owned and skippered by Luke Copperthwaite.  The vessel had been inspected in late 2012 by a surveyor from the Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA) when some defects were noted. The defects included lack of safety training and radio certificates plus structural problems with the wheelhouse. Although some of the defects were subsequently cleared, the MCA was not notified.

The vessel inspection certificate subsequently expired.   Attempts to contact Mr Copperthwaite brought no response. Eventually a Prohibition Notice was issued stopping the Freya May from sailing as a commercial fishing vessel.  Again no response was received so the matter was passed to the MCA Enforcement Unit for further action.
Mr Copperthwaite was finally interviewed in October 2013 when he admitted that he had not done the required courses and that the boat was now out of the water as he was working ashore. 

The Freya May was subsequently seen working at sea with Mr Copperthwaite on several occasions.  It was also observed that the vessel fishing numbers had become unreadable.  Attempts to contact Mr Copperthwaite did not evoke a response.

Luke Copperthwaite aged 33 from Portland, Dorset pleaded guilty to breaching the terms of a Prohibition Notice, failing to comply with the under 10m code of practice and allowing his fishing numbers to become unreadable.  Mr Copperthwaite was fined £500 plus a victim impact surcharge of £50 and costs of £1000 were awarded against him.

In passing sentence the Chairman of the Bench stated: Mr Copperthwaite bought this matter down on his own head.

Amir Esmiley, Area Operations Manager at the Southampton Marine Office of the MCA said:
“Prohibition Notices are issued to ensure safety at sea and stop unsafe acts.  They should not be ignored in the hope they will go away.”


No one ever wants to use their life saving equipment on a boat, but as Marine Surveyors it’s one of the most important things we check.  We want to know it will work when someone needs it and it has to work each time it’s needed.

When you see a surveyor out doing an inspection or survey and we’re wearing a lifejacket, it’s because we understand the dangers from years of experience and it tells us to wear a lifejacket when on the water. We take responsibility for our safety and you should take yours seriously as well.

Your lifejacket is your primary piece of safety equipment and it has to work, whatever the type is. 
On your lifejacket or buoyancy aid, check that it is in date.  If it is out of date, get it serviced.  Check the light if you have one, if you don’t we recommend that you fit one.  Check that the seams are intact on the inflatable parts and check the stitching on the straps.

You need to check that the gas bottle is free from rust and screwed in and if you are using a foam lifejacket or personal floatation device, also check that it is dry and free from rot.  We also want to remind you that when you wear it, make sure it is correctly fitted and always use a crotch strap if your lifejacket has one fitted.

I can’t stress enough how important it is to wear a lifejacket when on deck.

You need to be able to call for help if the worse does happen so a VHF/DSC radio is a must.  Make sure you get trained how to use it and when you want to do a radio check, you can call a marina or another boat to make sure it works.  Our friends in the Coastguard are always listening, but they need to listen for emergencies on CH16, not radio checks.

Make sure that your flares are in date and if they are out date, dispose of them correctly.
If you have a personal locator beacon or EPIRB make sure you register it at and you can perform a test on it by following the manufacturer’s instructions.

If you have a life raft check that it is correctly stowed so that when you need it in a hurry, you can get to it.  Check the date and if it needs servicing, now’s a good time to get that done.

You should also register your boat with the Coastguards CG66 scheme.  I’ve added the link below for you to do this.

By now your boat will be almost ready to go to sea, but there’s one last thing you need to check to be safe.  Are you trained in how to handle your type of boat? 

It might seem strange to think of yourself as part of the safety equipment, but your skill at sea is what will keep you alive.  We recommend you get trained before you set out.

David Polley – Marine Technician and Surveyor Belfast Marine Office.

Saturday, 21 March 2015


This afternoon just after 6pm the National Maritime Operations Centre were contacted by Dorset Police. The police had received a 999 call from a foreign national who was panicking because he and his group of three friends were lost and becoming cut off by a rising tide.

The Coastguard dealing with the foreign national, connected the call to a language interpreter as well. This enabled a series of thorough questions to be received and translated so that the location of the group could be identified.

The Swanage Coastguard Rescue Team, who were already in the area having dealt with a mud rescue, diverted onto the search for the missing men. The men were thought to be in the vicinity between the Pinnacles and Old Harry Rocks.

The Swange inshore and all weather lifeboats were requested to the search area, and while the Coastguard was still on the line to the foreign man, the lifeboat located the group and recovered them all safety.

The group of four men were then transferred to the Poole lifeboat and are being taken back to Poole.

National Maritime Operations Controller for the UK Coastguard, Matt Leat said

It is important to always check the weather and tidal conditions before you set out 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. You can check marine weather at and tides at

If you do find yourself cut off by a rising tide, dial 999 and ask for the Coastguard.