30/07/2007

Coastguard warns sailors

People are being warned by the Coastguard not to go out on a boat unless they have the appropriate navigational equipment onboard.

The warning follows an incident on Sunday evening when the Coastguard had difficulty rescuing six men in a speedboat off the County Down coast.

The men, all from Northern Ireland, were on their way home from Portpatrick in Scotland and got into difficulties near the Copeland Islands.

The crew were unable to give their precise position, as they did not have navigational equipment onboard, which led to the Coastguard taking 45 minutes to locate the vessel.

Judith McNeice, of the Belfast Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre said that it was fortunate their mobile telephones had reception and they were able to request the crew to fire one of the three white flares they had onboard.

A member of the public reported the flare and the lifeboat was then able to locate the speedboat five miles off Copeland Islands and escort them into Donaghadee Harbour.

(SB/SP)

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