CG Rescues Yacht Harassed by Whales

Tuesday, April 19, 2005
Brixham Coastguard recently received an emergency 999 call on a mobile phone from a lone yachtsman who had suffered engine failure, and was being harassed by a pod of whales.

The yachtsman called Brixham Coastguard via his mobile telephone after suffering an engine and total power failure and being unsure of his position. His situation was further exacerbated by the fact his vessel was being harassed by a pod of whales.

Upon receiving the phone call from this gentleman, who was unsure of his position due to his lack of power and not being in sight of land, he was asked to use his handheld VHF radio which he had on board. This enabled the Rescue coordination centre to obtain a bearing on his signal using their directional finding equipment

Prawle point Coastguard rescue team, Salcombe RNLI lifeboat and R193 from RNAS Culdrose who had just completed another mission were all called to assist in the search.

Brixham Coastguard were able to pick up his signal from another aerial which then gave them a cross bearing to enable them to direct the search units to find him.

When the search units were close to his position, he was also able to assist the units by firing a red flare. He was eventually found in a position 8 miles south east of Start Point. Hope Cove Coastguard met the vessel on arrival at Salcombe.

The weather is currently Easterly Force 4 with a moderate sea and swell; there are showers with moderate to good visibility

Dave Scullion, Brixham Coastguard Watch Manager, said:

“When this man’s situation became intolerable, he decided to call for assistance. This man was carrying all the necessary safety equipment and by using this equipment we were able to locate him quickly, to enable the lifeboat to find him and tow him to a port of safety.

We would recommend that all vessel owners, carry an in date flare pack, lifejackets, liferaft and a handheld VHF radio for such an eventuality.”

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