Possible person in the water

Thursday 19 January 2017

Location: Helford River

Weather: ENE 4, Moderate Sea and Swell, Good Visibility, Sunny Periods

Inshore lifeboat (Launched 08:59 / Returned 11:24) – Andy Jenkin (Helmsman), Tom Bird, Jamie Wakefield

All-weather lifeboat (Launched 09:41 / Returned 11:28) – Jonathan Blakeston (Coxswain), Carl Beardmore, Diane Bush, Thomas Telford, Jamie Connoly, Will Allen


At 08:54 Falmouth Coastguard requested that Falmouth Inshore Lifeboat be launched following a report of a dinghy with oars rigged adrift off Bar Beach in the Helford River. Falmouth Coastguard Rescue Team was also tasked to assist.

The Inshore Lifeboat launched from her slipway at 08:59 and headed across Falmouth Bay arriving on scene in the Helford at 09:18. The dinghy was soon located close to a drifting yacht which also had signs of recent occupation. In view of this information at 09:34 the Coastguard also requested the launch of the All Weather Lifeboat, Porthoustock Coastguard Rescue Team and the Coastguard Helicopter to assist in the search. The All Weather lifeboat left its pontoon berth at 09:41.

The Inshore Lifeboat secured both boats to a mooring and then commenced a search of the immediate area before heading further up river towards Gweek. The All Weather Lifeboat arrived on scene at the entrance to the Helford at 10:01 and commenced a search up river towards Groyne Point while the Coastguard Teams searched the shoreline. With nothing found the Inshore Lifeboat checked some of the others vessels in the area and found that they had also seen recent activity on board and following further information from the Coastguard that the owner of the first yacht was safe and well the search was terminated at 10:53 with both lifeboats being released to return to their station.

The Inshore Lifeboat being recovered onto its slipway at 11:24 with the All Weather Lifeboat arriving back alongside its pontoon berth at 11:28, both lifeboats being refuelled and ready for service by 11:45.

The initial report had come from the Helford River Moorings Officer who had rightly raised the concern that a person could be in the water. Once this was confirmed not to be the case the incident was handed over to the Police to investigate as there were clear signs of criminal activity on the boats involved.

Read the Falmouth Coastguard Cliff Rescue Team Report