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Tuesday, 16 September 2014

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Coastguard blast for sailors with no radio, no life jackets, no flares

Sailors who took to sea without even the most basic safety equipment have been criticised by coastguards.

They had to be rescued off the coast near Harrington

Brian George from Liverpool Coastguard base said the two, who have not been identified, were lucky nothing had happened to them and warned they had risked their lives.

He said it was ‘pure luck’ the pair managed to make an emergency phone call as signals can be weak out to sea and could have failed completely had they drifted further out.

When Whitehaven Coastguard and Workington lifeboat reached the 16ft boat they discovered there was no radio, life jackets, flares or back-up engine on board.

All they had was a “wet” mobile phone which they managed to use before it died. The boat eventually restarted and the two men managed to make it back to the harbour where they were given “a talking to” by the lifeboat crew on safety.

“Unfortunately, it happens quite a lot,” said Mr George, who is based in Liverpool. “People go out in small boats without adequate safety equipment. The sea is not man’s natural environment and is dangerous at the best of times and it can change suddenly.

“People need to make sure they take with them all of the appropriate safety equipment and inform someone – they are putting their lives at risk if they don’t.”

When the two crews reached the boat, just before 6.30pm on Thursday, the boat managed to restart its engine – which had contaminated fuel in it – and return to the marina.

The men were lucky, said Mr George, as things could have been much worse.

“If this boat had been a bit further out and had no means of letting anyone know what had happened, they would be drifting around there until somebody reported them missing,” he said.

“If they hadn’t informed anyone they were going out then they would have been in big trouble.”

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