The advice comes after a French boat sent out multiple VHF DSC Distress alerts to the UK Coastguard which were unable to raise a response from the crew
The UK Coastguard is reminding sailors to ensure they have at least two independent means of alerting them should they get into difficulty while out at sea.
The advice comes after a lengthy operation involving a French registered boat in the English Channel.
The Maritime and Coastguard Agency said the vessel sent out multiple VHF DSC Distress alerts on Tuesday (26 September).
Despite numerous attempts, the UK Coastguard was unable to raise a response from the crew.
A Mayday relay broadcast asking vessels in the area for assistance was immediately issued, and the French search and rescue service, MRCC Corsen, was also informed.
The St Mary’s RNLI all weather lifeboat and the UK Coastguard search and rescue helicopter based at Newquay were sent to assist, along with a French fixed wing aircraft.
The boat, which had two crew, was eventually located en route to Plymouth.
It was then established that the vessel had suffered engine failure, which had subsequently been repaired.
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The onward passage of the boat was monitored by the UK Coastguard before the volunteer crew of the Lizard RNLI all weather lifeboat assisted the French vessel into Falmouth later in the evening.
Commenting following the rescue, the senior maritime operations officer for the UK Coastguard, Ross Parkinson, said: ‘This was quite a lengthy incident that involved both the UK Coastguard and MRCC Corsen. Thankfully, the vessel was located quickly by the air assets on scene and the two people on board were found to be safe and well.”
He offered this advice to sailors.
“Having the correct communication equipment on board is essential for any type of trip to sea, but just as important is having the knowledge and ability to use it. Remember to always carry at least two independent means of alerting the Coastguard if you get into difficulty,” he stressed.
“If you’re heading out to sea we would always recommend that you carry a fixed VHF unit with DSC and ideally an EPIRB or Personal Locator Beacon. This is in addition having a fully charged mobile phone, flares, a powerful torch, and appropriate personal flotation devices such as a lifejackets or buoyancy aides,” he continued.
“If you get into difficulty use Channel 16 to alert the Coastguard to your position. 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 than we can get help to you,” stated Parkinson.
“We can never get time back – speed is of the utmost importance. Don’t wait for things to improve. You need to inform us as soon as a potentially difficult situation is developing – once things start to go wrong, they develop rapidly,” he stated.
“And on a final note, make sure you have a plan on board for ‘what if?’ and make sure everyone on board knows their part within the plan,” added Parkinson.