The UK Coastguard has issued safety advice for leisure boaters after five people were rescued as their boat sank under them, off the south west coast of Scotland.

At 6.42pm on Saturday night. Belfast Coastguard received 999 calls from the men on the small boat reporting they were sinking with only an approximate location on the coast.

The Coastguard rescue helicopter from Prestwick and Girvan Coastguard Rescue Team were tasked to search and Girvan and Campbeltown RNLI lifeboats were requested.

Coastguard coordinators at Belfast received help from the Irish Coastguard who tracked a precise location for the position of the casualty’s mobile phone.  They were located between Ailsa Craig and Girvan.

The Coastguard helicopter arrived on scene and prioritised winching two people from the vessel who weren’t wearing life jackets.

At this point the boat sank in rough water and the three other people were rescued from the water and winched into the helicopter.

The five people were landed nearby and met by Girvan Coastguard Rescue Team and were safe and uninjured.

Coastguard helicopter rescues five men from sinking boat

MCA safety advice for leisure boats

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) would like to remind sailors that:

Recreational boaters should wear an appropriate personal floatation device such as a lifejacket or buoyancy aid at all times whilst on deck.

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 required at sea:

Yachts / motorboats (within 30 miles of the coast: 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 a three nautical mile range from boat to boat and five miles from boat to boat maximum because of the reduced aerial height.