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Thursday, 18 December 2014

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Stranded boats prompt RNLI safety warnings

Life-saving advice has been issued following two separate incidents where stranded sailors did not have life jackets or radios.

The two-man crew of one small boat could not even make an emergency call themselves when their engine failed off the coast at Salterbeck around 10pm on Wednesday.

It was thanks to the quick-thinking actions of a member of the public who spotted them in difficulty and trying to paddle ashore, that they were rescued and towed to safety at Parton.

And just 24-hours later, a similar incident occurred when four sailors aboard a 15ft motor boat were forced to drop their anchor in darkness and call for help after their two engines stopped working.

Although both boats had flares on board, experts say that this is not enough.

The incidents have prompted both the coastguard and RNLI to hand out safety advice to sailors.

Alison Levett, from the RNLI, urged people to help themselves as much as possible and stay safe at sea by following some simple tips.

“Always tell someone where you’re going and when you should be back; undertake some training to improve knowledge of your chosen activity; check the tides and weather before setting out, and check your boat’s engine and fuel levels,” she said.

“Once at sea, wear a lifejacket, and make sure you have an SOS device to call for help, preferably a VHF radio, along with flares to help raise the alarm if you do get into trouble.”

And a spokeswoman for the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, has echoed the advice, urging people to have the correct “lifesaving equipment”.

“It is also sensible to undertake some form of training,” she added. “If you get trained you will be far less likely to be involved in a maritime incident.”

Crews from Whitehaven Coastguard, St Bees lifeboat and Workington lifeboat all attended the rescues.

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