Portaferry RNLI Responds To EPIRB Alert At Sea

Portaferry RNLI volunteer crew respond to emergency beacon alert near Portavogie

The Portaferry RNLI pagers sounded on Sunday afternoon (23rd June) after Belfast Coastguard received an Emergency Position Indication Radio Beacon (EPIRB) alert close to Portavogie.

The lifeboat launched at 1.05pm, and conditions were good with a Force 2 light southerly air and slight sea state.

Once close to the scene and with no sign of a vessel, helm Chris Adair with crew members Ros Watret, Molly Crowe and Scott Blackwood began a search of the area.

The Blue Peter V waits for the Strangford Ferry to depart so it can get access to the slip after a callout.

The crew were made aware soon after that Portaferry Coastguard had located the vessel safe and well in Portavogie Harbour. Both the lifeboat and Coastguard helicopter which had also been tasked, were stood down.

Helm Chris Adair said: ‘Yesterday’s call out had all the characteristics of a vessel’s crew in serious danger, but this time thankfully that wasn’t the case.

‘An EPIRB is a great piece of kit for any vessel at sea. This one malfunctioned and was taken away by the Coastguard to be disarmed, but we would always recommend having one onboard.

“We would always much rather launch and find all is well, than not launch at all.

‘We would also ask all skippers who carry an EPIRB to take this incident as a reminder to check your registration details are up to date and that everyone onboard knows what to do in an emergency.

“Always take weather and tide times into account before venturing out, and always wear a lifejacket or suitable flotation device for your activity.

“You should always carry a means of communication and should you get into difficulty or see someone else in trouble, call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coastguard.’