Hoylake RNLI volunteers spend the night at sea in multi-agency search
Hoylake RNLI lifeboat was requested to launch by the UK Coastguard at 11:44pm on Tuesday 10 November when a distress beacon alert sparked a major multi-agency search.
Five RNLI lifeboats from Hoylake, Flint, Rhyl and Llandudno were tasked to search a wide area of Liverpool Bay from Hoylake to the Great Orme, including the Dee Estuary. The Coastguard search and rescue helicopter based at St Athan in South Wales and the Wirral, Flint and Rhyl Coastguard Rescue Teams (CRT) were also deployed to assist.
Hoylake RNLI’s all-weather Shannon class lifeboat Edmund Hawthorn Micklewood and her volunteer crew launched into the dark but clear night and attempted to locate the distress signal using the lifeboat’s radio signal direction-finding equipment. As the signal was unclear and intermittent, the Coastguard asked the lifeboats and helicopter to follow search patterns at sea while the CRTs searched on the shore.
The Hoylake RNLI lifeboat carried out extensive searches through the night around the mouth of the Dee Estuary, among the Burbo Bank Wind Farm turbines, and further out into Liverpool Bay. The crew used searchlights and radar to try and identify any potential casualties.
However after nearly six hours of searching with nothing found, the Coastguard concluded the search and all assets were stood down. Hoylake RNLI lifeboat returned to station to be washed down, refuelled and was made ready for service again by 8.15am.
Hoylake RNLI Coxswain Andy Dodd said: ‘It was a long night for the lifeboat and helicopter crews as well as Coastguard officers, but by working together we were able to carry out a thorough search of a large area to try and locate the source of the distress signal.’
The RNLI advises owners of distress beacons such as a Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) or an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) to please ensure that it is registered with the Coastguard to help them identify and contact you in an emergency.
Whilst the origin of the distress signal was not established in this case, the co-ordinated and dedicated effort from multiple RNLI stations alongside the Coastguard Rescue Teams is a testament to the commitment of RNLI volunteers and their emergency service colleagues who remain on call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and will drop everything when the pager sounds to save lives at sea.
Notes to editors
- Hoylake lifeboat station has been operating since 1803. To learn more about the lifeboat station go to https://rnli.org/find-my-nearest/lifeboat-stations/hoylake-lifeboat-station
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, 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.