UK Coastguard received a call from Northumbria Police Monday evening about a call from a man reporting to be lost at sea.
The man was calling from a 24ft boat, reporting his position somewhere to the north of Amble, he had lost power and radio communications, had narrowly missed some rocks and reported to be heading into a storm.
The Coastguard spent lots of time talking to the man on his mobile telephone, and were eventually able to pinpoint his exact position by using Merchant vessels along with Amble and Howick Coastguard Rescue Teams. UK Coastguard then requested the launch of Amble RNLI All-Weather Lifeboat, who now have the man under tow on his way back to the Amble Harbour.
“It is absolutely essential to have the correct and most suitable communications equipment when setting out to sea, especially in extreme weather conditions, like we are experiencing tonight. In fact in this weather we would warn anyone against going out, but if there was no option it would be imperative to be properly prepared,” said Ryan Douglas, Senior Maritime Operations Officer for the UK Coastguard.
Further, Mr Douglas added that use of VHF radio when one making an emergency call to the Coastguard, permits everyone within range to know what their situation is, so there might be someone nearby who can respond 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, like tonight, then you might not be able to make a mobile call at all.”