28 July 2017
By Bryan T. Smyth
Baltimore RNLI was launched this morning (Friday 28 July) to locate a vessel sending an alarm from their positioning beacon off the coast of West Cork.
The volunteer lifeboat crew launched their all-weather lifeboat following a request from the Irish Coast Guard at 9.59am. The Coast Guard had picked up an alarm from an EPIRB (electronic position indication radio beacon) from a yacht 0.5 miles south west of Cape Clear Island. They had no success raising the occupants of the yacht on their VHF so the Baltimore lifeboat was launched to investigate.
Baltimore lifeboat proceeded to the last known co-ordinates of the vessel as directed by Mizen Head Coast Guard. Conditions at the time were south west winds, force 3 to 4, with a swell height of 1m and poor visibility due to mist and rain.
At 10.30am the Coast Guard finally made contact with the yacht’s occupants on their VHF and established that there were two people on board the yacht and all was well. It had been an accidental activation of their EPIRB. Baltimore lifeboat reached the vessel at 10.35am and were then stood down by the Coast Guard and returned to the lifeboat station, arriving there at 11am.
The lifeboat had six volunteer crew onboard, Coxswain Aidan Bushe, Mechanic Brian McSweeney and crewmen Micheal Cottrell, Sean McCarthy, Colin Whooley and Eoin Ryan. Tom Bushe, Seamus O’Driscoll and Jerry Smith provided shore crew assistance at the lifeboat house.
Speaking following the call out, Micheal Cottrell, Baltimore RNLI Volunteer Lifeboat Navigator said: ‘It is important to ensure the secure fastening of an EPIRB on board a vessel and to regularly check that it is in good working order. Also, whilst out at sea it is important to keep radio watch on channel 16. If you get into difficulty at sea, call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coast Guard.’