Teignmouth RNLI volunteers launch both lifeboats in river search following distress signal

Teignmouth RNLI were asked to assist in a search following a distress signal emitted from a EPIRB (emergency position indicating radio beacon).

Teignmouth lifeboat at sea


Solent Coastguard requested the assistance of Teignmouth RNLI at 1.03pm on Tuesday 21 December, after a distress signal was received from a EPIRB in the vicinity of the River Teign.

Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons (EPIRB) are dedicated to transmitting distress signals which can be used to locate a casualty. They are often fitted to vessels as safety devices and can be activated automatically. Should a ship begin to sink the EPIRB is released allowing it to float to the surface where it will begin to transmit a distress signal to help locate any casualties.

Teignmouth RNLI were tasked by Solent Coastguard to carry out a search of the River Teign to look for a potential vessel in distress or any casualties who may have entered the water. With low water at 1.40pm, both the Atlantic 85 class lifeboat and an RNLI Arancia were launched, with a total of six crew onboard between the two lifeboats. The Arancia has a greater range in low water and can travel further up the river than the larger Atlantic 85. 

After an extensive search along the river and shoreline in the vicinity of the last known location of the signal, it was expected that the EPIRB was activated onshore in error. Solent Coastguard stood down Teignmouth RNLI, both boats then proceeded back to the boathouse where they were rehoused by the shore crew and were ready for service again at 2.25pm.

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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 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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