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Navigation buoy sparks false alarm for Redcar RNLI

Lifeboats News Release

A major navigation buoy off Redcar which was mistaken for a drifting dinghy led to the launch of the Redcar RNLI lifeboat on Monday 15 May 2017.

Redcar lifeboat approaching the Saltscar Buoy

RNLI/Dave Cocks

The Redcar lifeboat approaching the Saltscar Buoy - reported to be a drifting inflatable dinghy

The relief Atlantic 85 class lifeboat Malcolm and Mona Bennett-Williams was launched just after 4.30pm following several 999 calls to UK Coastguard reporting an orange dinghy drifting five miles off Redcar.

The lifeboat was initially directed to search approximately one mile offshore near the Stray, Redcar. A coastguard rescue team arrived at the scene and spoke with one of the first informants and directed the lifeboat to a target further offshore.

Those directions led the lifeboat to the Saltscar Buoy, approximately three miles from Redcar. Satisfied that the first informants had seen the buoy and had believed it was a drifting inflatable, UK Coastguard stood down the lifeboat.

Helmsman Cameron Bond says: 'The fact that the coastguards had received more than one 999 call made us believe this was going to be a real rescue. But once the coastguard directed us out to sea, it was fairly obvious what we were heading towards was the Saltscar Buoy.

'This was a false alarm with good intent. We'd much rather go to a job like this than not be called and then learn someone was really in danger.'

The Saltscar Buoy is a north cardinal buoy approximately 3 metres high, and weighs around 6 tonnes. It is used to navigate ships into safe waters near the rocks at Redcar. Its distinctive shape and colour indicate that the safe waters are to the north of the buoy. For more information on navigation buoys go to the RNLI Coastal Safety website.

Key facts about the RNLI

The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates over 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.

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