Falmouth’s all-weather and inshore lifeboats were tasked to launch on two occasions on Saturday 15 August, firstly to a missing swimmer, and secondly to a boat believed to be unmanned.
At 10:43am, Falmouth’s inshore lifeboat Robina Nixon Chard launched following a report of a missing swimmer between Swanpool and Pennance Point.
The swimmer, wearing a brightly-coloured swim cap and towing a swim buoy, was being monitored from the shore by one of their family. When they were having difficulty seeing the swimmer, the supporting family member hired a kayak to follow them but then lost sight of the swimmer off Pennance Point. Sensibly, they contacted the emergency services on the phone to raise the alarm.
Once on scene, the inshore lifeboat requested the immediate launch of the all-weather lifeboat to assist in the search and began a search off Pennance Point. The inshore lifeboat had been assisted in its initial search by a rib from Elemental Watersports Centre and also one of the lifeboat crew who was afloat on their own boat.
Soon after the all-weather lifeboat launching, the missing swimmer had thankfully been located safe and well by the Falmouth Coastguard Cliff Rescue Team, also tasked, at Maenporth Beach and so both lifeboats were stood down to return to station.
The second call-out of the day came just before 3.30pm, when Falmouth Coastguard requested Falmouth’s inshore lifeboat launch following a report from Portscatho NCI Lookout of an unmanned open boat adrift off Greeb Point in Gerrans Bay. Portscatho NCI Lookout had become concerned for the wellbeing of the occupants due to the vessel engine being down and fishing rods visibly rigged, and so it appeared to be drifting with no one aboard.
Falmouth’s all-weather lifeboat Richard Cox Scott launched shortly after to provide additional search support should this be needed. Arriving on scene as 3.44pm, the inshore lifeboat found the vessel to be safely placed at anchor and the occupants nearby onshore who confirmed all was well. Both lifeboats were stood down and made their way back to the station to be refuelled and made ready for service.
In both these instances, it was the correct that the caller raised their concern for the swimmer and vessel with the Coastguard. Whether false alarm or not, these situations could have quickly become very different and serious, and so calling 999 and asking for the Coastguard is the correct procedure if you are unsure if someone is in trouble at sea.