(credit: Exmouth RNLI)
Photos: PR170618 Shannon class lifeboat R and J Welburn recovered at daybreak
On Friday 15 June at 10.45pm (we returned Saturday 16 June), Shannon class lifeboat R and J Welburn was tasked by the UK Coastguard after a sighting of a red flare, four to five miles north east from a vessel in Torbay.
Crew volunteers searched for nearly five hours, approximately three miles offshore between Sidmouth and Dawlish, with no further sightings of concern. On two occasions, the Coastguard requested Crew volunteers set off white flares for the first informant to pinpoint the location of the red flare. Newquay Coastguard helicopter joined the search at midnight for 30 minutes.
R and J Welburn returned to the beach at 3.50am and was ready for service again at 4.45am.
Deputy Coxswain, Roger Jackson commented:
‘We did come across a yacht, seven miles south of Exmouth which had engine failure but the occupants had not used a flare and were happy to wait until the wind lifted to use their sails. However, they were reassured to see us in the early hours and appreciated the offer of help.
‘We have been called out on a number of searches recently with nothing found, but we would rather be tasked to a false alarm, than too late or not at all. What would help is for those seeing anything or anyone presumed to be at risk, say what you have seen: when and where, with a bearing if possible and where you are as it can help reduce the search area. A parachute rocket flare on a day or night of good visibility can be seen for over 20 miles. Overall, it was a tiring night but all made possible due to the commitment of our dedicated Crew volunteers.
‘We would recommend everybody taking to the water to carry emergency equipment, including a full set of flares – not just one, and it’s vital to check they’re not out of date and you or the operator know how to use them. When used properly, you’re more likely to be seen and the UK Coastguard alerted.’