Larne RNLI came to the aid of a person on Saturday night (2 September) following a request by Belfast Coastguard that a 3.5 metre rigid inflatable was lost in thick fog while underway to Donaghadee.
The volunteer crew launched their all-weather lifeboat, Dr John McSparran, at 10.24pm into calm seas with very little visibility and made their way towards the last reported location of the casualty vessel, south of the Copeland Islands.
Conducting a search proved challenging as the lifeboat crew didn’t have a specific landmark to pursue. The crew members illuminated the area using flares to try and detect the casualty vessel, however, the fog was causing visibility to be severely reduced.
The search continued until further information was received detailing an earlier position of the casualty boat. The navigator onboard used this information and calculated an estimated position of the vessel, considering tidal flow and wind speeds. Using this estimated position, the radar operator was able to identify a small target near to the position.
The lifeboat made its way to the scene and found the casualty standing in the boat waving their arms to raise the alarm. The crew proceeded to transfer the casualty onto the lifeboat where they were then checked to make sure they were safe and well. The casualty was made comfortable and warm.
Meanwhile, the crew secured the rigid inflatable boat and brought both back to the safety of Bangor marina.
Larne RNLI’s Coxswain Frank Healy speaking after the call out said:
"This was an excellent response from our volunteer crew for a late night call in an area we don’t usually get called to. Everyone did their job and we have had a successful outcome.
"We would encourage anyone planning a trip to sea to always bring a means of communication with them such as a VHF radio or a mobile phone and make sure you let someone know where you are going and when you are due back, and always remember to contact 999 or 112 and ask for the Coastguard should any issues arise."