Vessel transmitting continuously on VHF Distress Channel

Date: Saturday 5 August 2017

Location: Falmouth Bay

Weather: W 4, Slight Sea and Swell, Good Visibility, Sunny Periods

All weather lifeboat: (Tasked 15:18 / Returned 16:15) – Dave Nicoll (Deputy 2nd Coxswain), Jonathan Blakeston, Carl Beardmore, Neil Capper, Adam West, Jamie Connoly, Jamie Wakefield, Josh Williams, Will Allen


Falmouth Lifeboat was attending the annual Coverack Lifeboat Day with the Lizard Lifeboat when at 15:18 Falmouth Coastguard requested that Falmouth All Weather Lifeboat be tasked to assist in identifying a boat which was continuously transmitting on Channel 16, so preventing a risk to the use of the VHF Distress Channel. The Lizard Lifeboat also offered to assist.

The All Weather Lifeboat was at anchor off Coverack Harbour so once it had recovered its anchor at 15:30 the lifeboat headed towards the Manacles to where at 15:43 it started to try and track the signal using the lifeboats VHF direction finding equipment. The signal was coming from the north so the lifeboat continued back towards Zone Point but the signal continued to get weaker and by the time the Lifeboat was off St Mawes Castle the signal had been lost so at 16:03 the lifeboat was released to return to its station.

The All Weather Lifeboat arrived back alongside its pontoon berth at 16:15 where it was refuelled and ready for service by 16:30.

The source of the signal which was believed due to noise in the background to have come from a vessel of some kind was not identified but indications were that it may have headed up the Percuil River. Unfortunately accidental transmissions such as this mean that the main distress channel is blocked and other distress calls could be missed by the coastguard and other vessels.