Lifeboat rescues cockling boats

Two boats used by cockle pickers were rescued by a Cumbrian lifeboat crew late last night after they became stranded in rough waters in the Solway Firth. The Silloth lifeboat was scrambled after reports reached them of an engine failure on one of the cockle-laden RIBs, which had another in tow.

The lifeboat crew spent three-and-a-half hours on the water before managing to locate the vessels, which had no navigation lights and no VHF. The man in charge of the boats had no means of raising the alarm other than his mobile phone, which failed to work after the initial call raising the alert was made. He was not wearing a lifejacket.

The man, who was unharmed, and the vessels were safely towed back to shore in the early hours of this morning.

Sue Todd, Rescue Co-ordination Manager at Liverpool Coastguard, said:

‘The man involved in this incident and colleagues who had left him earlier have been involved in previous incidents, the latest being on the 18th March when the same scenario developed and the vessel had to be towed in? Clearly they have learned nothing from their previous experience and continue to put to sea in vessels which are not equipped to be out during the hours of darkness.’