'Missing' sailor with radio turned off causes wide search

All called out unnecessarily
.. .
A yacht that went 'missing' and alarmed his colleague sailors and caused much unnecessary searching by UK coastguard personnel has caused authorities to plead with leisure sailors to register their yachts and communicate with coastguards.

While the incident happened in the UK this time, the plea is valid worldwide.


At 06.37 pm on Tuesday this week, Swansea Coastguard was alerted by the skipper of a yacht called Portessa. The skipper expressed some concern of his fellow yachtsman who had not arrived at the Marina. The overdue vessel is called Summersalt.

The skipper of the Portessa reported that he lost sight of him in mist at 12:00, the Summersalt was making an estimated 4.5 knots and was approx 7 miles offshore. He has a small outboard on his yacht but that had suffered with engine problems. There was one man onboard whose age is over sixty.

Swansea Coastguard was using several units to search for this man and his yacht as there was concern for his wellbeing.

Coastguard rescue teams from Penarth, Ilfracombe, Watchet, Barry were called out

RNLI lifeboats from Porthcawl and Barry Dock were also involved in the search and helicopter R169 was also scrambled. South Wales police were also informed.

After the incident reached a happy conclusion, Dai Jones, Watch Manager, Swansea Coastguard said, 'We would like to emphasise the importance of communicating with the Coastguard and letting us know your passage plan. We searched for this man and his yacht after receiving a call from his concerned colleague.

'What we were unable to do was to communicate with him to ascertain his whereabouts due to the fact that he either had his radio turned off or it was not working. We were informed that he had VHF onboard. His mobile phone was also switched off.

'Although we are pleased that he has turned up on a mooring 45 miles from his original destination, it is important that you communicate with the Coastguard and your fellow sailors to prevent incidents such as this. Remember to register your vessel on CG66, our small yacht and boat safety scheme.'