RNLI Lerwick lifeboat called out to emergency distress beacon

Lifeboats News Release

Lerwick lifeboat was tasked by HM Coastguard just before 11.45am today to a report of an emergency beacon activated around 20 nautical miles south-east of the island of Unst.

An RNLI crew member reaches out to someone in the water during an exercise at sea

RNLI/Nigel Millard

An RNLI crew member reaches out to someone in the water during an exercise at sea
The Severn-class lifeboat launched within 10 minutes of the crew being paged and immediately headed north from Lerwick harbour. When activated, a signal from an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) normally indicates that a vessel or persons are in distress.

However, soon after launch the Coastguard notified the crew that the EPIRB was a false alarm and the vessel to which the beacon was registered was actually safe and well. The lifeboat returned to harbour at 12.15pm to return to station and refuel.

Coxswain Stephen Manson said: 'Our volunteer crew are always ready to respond to any call to launch and we’re glad that there was no-one in distress on this occasion.

'Emergency beacons can quickly direct a search and rescue operation to the exact location of any incident. We’d encourage any boat owners to check the service status and registration details of any beacons on board. And if they don’t have a beacon, they should consider getting one – emergency beacons at sea can save lives.'

The RNLI has information on how to call for help at sea, including details of EPIRBs and Personal Locator Beacons (PLB) at: https://rnli.org/safety/how-to-call-for-help-at-sea

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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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