Cowes Lifeboat Station

Rogue Emergency Beacon Leads to Lifeboat Launching

9th January 2016

A personal locator beacon (PLB) that suddenly went active led to Cowes RNLI lifeboat being launched yesterday (Friday) morning.

The beacon, intended to alert rescuers to a maritime emergency, was reported by Solent Coastguards to be sending out a signal in the Cowes area.

The lifeboat proceeded to Cowes Yacht Haven where Newport coastguards had already taken possession of a beacon. However it was then only through Solent Coastguards’ tracking equipment at their Hampshire base and the lifeboat’s on-board direction finder that it could be reliably confirmed that this was indeed the beacon sending out the signal.

Just why the beacon should have done so remained a mystery.

The lifeboat, launched at 9.15 am on Friday was away from station for about an hour.

Mark Southwell, Cowes RNLI Operations Manager

Mark Southwell, Cowes RNLI Operations Manager

The station’s operations manager, Mark Southwell, said later: With a growing awareness of their own safety by all mariners there is an increasing use of PLBs. It is a pleasing trend as, indeed, is the increasing use of lifejackets by people using Cowes harbour.

“The fact that we have now had three false alarms from PLBs in the last three months should not be allowed to hide this very positive fact.”