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Red flare fired from land sparks North sea search

Lifeboats News Release

A red distress flare fired from inland sparked a full-scale sea and shoreline search as darkness fell on Tuesday 15 May 2018.

Library picture - Redcar RNLI lifeboats

RNLI/Dave Cocks

Library picture - Redcar RNLI lifeboats
Coastguard Rescue Teams and both Redcar RNLI lifeboats were tasked to search an area of coastline between Marske, near Redcar, and Skinningrove after a police officer reported the sighting of the flare while out on patrol. The line of sight of the flare suggested it could have been fired from the sea.

After the lifeboats had launched a message was posted on the Redcar RNLI social media pages asking for any further information regarding the sighting. A member of the public responded to the message and contacted UK Coastguard and admitted to firing the flare inland at Brotton, near Saltburn, to dispose of it because it was out-of-date and faulty.

The search teams were then stood down.

Dave Cocks, Lifeboat Operations Manager at Redcar RNLI said: 'It is never acceptable to fire a distress flare in any other circumstances except an emergency at sea. In fact it is illegal.

'And it is certainly very dangerous to the user to fire an out-of-date, faulty or damaged flare.

'Nearly two dozen lifeboat and coastguard personnel were involved in the search, some checking along the cliff tops in darkness.'

Advice on the proper disposal of distress flares can be found on the Maritime and Coastguard Agency website.


Notes to editors:

• Attached image is a library image of the Redcar RNLI lifeboats in action. Credit RNLI/Dave Cocks

• Redcar lifeboat station has been operating since 1802

• Redcar currently operates a B-class lifeboat named Leicester Challenge III, paid for by the people of Leicester, and an IB1-class lifeboat named Eileen May Loach-Thomas, paid from the legacy of the late Mr Nick Thomas of Shropshire

• For more news, information and images go to Find us on Facebook at and follow us on Twitter at

• Any images used should be credited RNLI/Redcar unless indicated

RNLI media contacts:

For more information please contact Dave Cocks, RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager on 07894 558 483. Alternatively, contact Clare Hopps, RNLI Press Officer, North 07824 518641 or at, or contact RNLI Public Relations on 01202 336789;

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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.

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