Possible hoax distress call interrupts Rhyl RNLI volunteers on Open Day.
The spoken word 'Mayday' was heard on the marine distress radio channel by the UK coastguard at Holyhead, and also by the RNLI lifeguards at Rhyl beach.
The charity's volunteers were paged at 11.56am on Saturday 11 August to launch both the inshore lifeboat 'Mary Maxwell' and the relief all-weather lifeboat 'The Lincolnshire Poacher'.
They were already at the station for the Open Day, and so both boats were launched within six minutes of being paged.
The coastguard requested the all-weather lifeboat search offshore between Pensarn beach and Prestatyn Barkby beach; and the inshore lifeboat to search Rhyl harbour and close inshore between the same two points.
Local coastguards, who were also attending the Open day, made enquiries on the Rhyl promenade area.
The lifeboats searched for about two hours, investigating all craft within the search area, with no results. The search was the called off by UK coastguard, as nothing further had been heard on the distress channel. The lifeboats and coastguards then returned to the event.
Martin Jones, Rhyl Coxswain said: ' This incident used up many resources in a search, which could have delayed any genuine rescues that occurred'.
He continued: ' As well as wasting the volunteers' time, this also meant that the crew were not able to be on station collecting for our charity, and may seriously affect the total amount collected'
The attached pictures show the lifeboats' tracks, and the Rhyl all-weather lifeboat returning to station.
Key facts about the RNLI
The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is the charity that saves lives at sea. Our volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service in the United Kingdom and Ireland from 238 lifeboat stations, including four along the River Thames and inland lifeboat stations at Loch Ness, Lough Derg, Enniskillen and Lough Ree. Additionally the RNLI has more than 1,000 lifeguards on over 240 beaches around the UK and operates a specialist flood rescue team, which can respond anywhere across the UK and Ireland when inland flooding puts lives at risk.
The RNLI relies on public donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. As a charity it is separate from, but works alongside, government-controlled and funded coastguard services. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824 our lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved at least 140,000 lives. Volunteers make up 95% of the charity, including 4,600 volunteer lifeboat crew members and 3,000 volunteer shore crew. Additionally, tens of thousands of other dedicated volunteers raise funds and awareness, give safety advice, and help in our museums, shops and offices.
Learn more about the RNLI
Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries
Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 or by email.
The RNLI is a charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SC037736). Charity number 20003326 in the Republic of Ireland