Bembridge RNLI’s All-Weather Lifeboat searches off St Catherine's Point
RNLB Alfred Albert Williams (Tamar All-Weather Lifeboat 16-17) was launched at 4.47am at the request of UK (Solent) Coastguard to conduct a shoreline search from one mile East of St Catherine's Point to one mile West for 'anything untoward following a spoken word Mayday' that had been picked up
on their Boneface Down aerial on VHF Channel 16. The Alfred Albert Williams reached the search area at 5.15am and having conducted a sweep of the designated search area in quite lumpy conditions and found nothing of any significance she was released by UK (Solent) Coastguard at 6.00am and returned to Bembridge. She was recovered by 6.45am.
Ventnor Coastguard Rescue Team carried out a search of the same area from the shore with similar results.
On his return, Guy Willing, Coxswain of Bembridge Lifeboat, said 'As the information that the Coastguard had picked up was pretty sparse, the only way of being sure that no one was actually in need of immediate assistance was to carry out a search of the most likely area the Mayday might have been sent from. Although in this case nothing was found, we would much prefer to be safe than sorry.'
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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, in a normal year, 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.