Report of Red Flares

Saturday 5 November 2016

Location: Top end of Carrick Roads

Weather: NW 3-4, Slight Sea and No Swell, Good Visibility, Clear Sky

Inshore lifeboat (Launched 19:39 / Returned 20:42) – Nick Head (Helmsman), Tom Bird, Jake Ingleby


At 19:34 Falmouth Coastguard requested that Falmouth Inshore Lifeboat be launched following reports of a number of red parachute flares being sighted over the top of the Carrick Roads.

The Inshore Lifeboat launched from her slipway at 19:39 and headed up the Carrick Roads arriving off Restronguet Creek at 19:49. A search of the top end of the Carrick Roads was carried out including investigating beach parties at both Loe Beach and Turnaware Point. No vessels were located in difficulty and at 20:33 with the area being thoroughly covered the search was terminated and the Inshore Lifeboat was released to return to its station.

The Inshore Lifeboat was recovered onto its slipway at 20:42 where the lifeboat was refuelled and made ready for service by 21:00.

The initial reports came from the Mylor Harbour area and had indicated that the flares had been sighted in the direction of Turnaware Bar. This was confirmed by one of the lifeboat crew who had also sighted the flares from the Pandora. As the reports indicated that the flares may have been fired from the water the Coastguard had to instigate a search despite it being the 5th November, but having not located any vessels in distress it is assumed that the flares had been fired from ashore. Not only did this cause an unnecessary search, improperly making a distress signal is contrary to Regulation 3 of the Merchant Shipping (Distress Signals and Prevention of Collision) Regulations, 1996.