Yacht Rescued Off Isles Of Scilly In Gale

At 5am on Saturday, HM Coastguard received a VHF DSC distress alert from a single handed yachtsman in difficulty off the Isles Of Scilly with severe gale force 9 forecast for the area.

Falmouth Coastguard broadcast the mayday relay to other vessels in the area and sent the Coastguard Rescue Helicopter from Newquay and the RNLI all weather lifeboat from St Marys on the Isles Of Scilly was also sent to locate and rescue the yacht.  The 34 foot yacht was located 6 miles South West of the Isles Of Scilly and the French lone yachtsman and the yacht were taken under tow by St Marys RNLI lifeboat to harbour.

Ian Guy, Duty Controller at the National Maritime Operations Centre said, "The yachtsman described being hit by a large freak wave which capsized, rolled and disabled the vessel and with a such a severe gale forecast for the area this morning, it was important to get assistance out to this small sailing vessel quickly.  Happily, the skipper of the vessel is uninjured and the RNLI crew of the St Marys lifeboat were able to secure a tow in challenging conditions and bring the vessel in to harbour on the Isles Of Scilly"


HM Coastguard Standard Advice for Sailors:

Maritime Communications

When you make an emergency call to the coastguard from VHF radio you will tell everyone within range what your situation is even if you cannot see them – there might be someone nearby who can help you more quickly.

If you are at sea and only have a mobile phone you will only be able to speak to the person you are making the call to. If mobile network coverage is poor then you might not be able to make a mobile call at all, VHF coverage along the coast is generally much better. For remote locations, consider carrying a 406 Personal Locator Beacon to raise the alarm. Make sure that handheld VHF radios and fixed VHR microphones are stowed correctly. and that they are not inadvertently transmitting - open microphone carriers can render all communications on channel 16 impossible.

Minimum recommended communications equipment for At sea:

Yachts / motorboats (within 30 miles of the coast (Sea Area A1): A fixed DSC VHF, a charged mobile phone, flares, powerful torch and Personal Locator Beacon. Remember, a hand held VHF set is only generally capable of 3 nautical miles range from boat to boat and 5 miles from boat to boat maximum because of the reduced aerial height. 

Yachts / motorboats (more than 30 miles from the shore): A fixed DSCVHF set, 406 MHz EPIRB with GPS and 121.5 homing function, powerful torch and appropriate flares. Remember that a VHF radio can only be considered reliable within line of sight, if you intend on going further than 30 miles offshore, additional suitable radio equipment such as MF or HF might be required.

Dinghy sailors / canoeists / kayakers and PWC riders: are recommended to carry hand held VHF, a PLB for more remote locations, mini flares and a charged mobile phone. 

We recommend that where possible, all vessels are fitted with VHF DSC radio equipment which can send a distress alert and, if it is linked up to GPS, an accurate position of your vessel to the Coastguard with one touch of a button. Always tell someone shoreside where you are going and when you expect to return. Update them if your plans change and tell them to call the Coastguard if your do not reach your intended destination within the time frame specified. 

To assist HM Coastguard in locating you, should you get into difficulty, consider downloading the RYA’s SafeTrx app or registering your details on the RYA’s SafeTrx website. RYAs SafeTrx is HM Coastguard’s official voluntary safety identification scheme. It’s a FREE service for owners and skippers of all types of leisure vessels and small craft. Signing up to SafeTrx will give HM Coastguard the information that they need to get you an even swifter response in an emergency. Start now on the Royal Yachting Association website 

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