Flares plea after lifeboat crew drops festivities for Christmas Day search

26/12/2022

Flares plea after lifeboat crew drops festivities for Christmas Day search

A lifeboat crew has warned of the dangers of setting off distress flares in non-emergencies after it launched on Christmas Day for the first time in living memory.

Volunteers with Whitby RNLI interrupted their festive family celebrations after the boat team’s youngest member, Andy Brighton, spotted a flare as he was walking along Church Street in the seaside town.

He alerted the Coastguard and coxswain Howard Fields, who had also seen the flare from his home and was making the same call.

The Coastguard immediately requested a launch and the inshore lifeboat crew made a search of the harbour area.

The RNLI said that, due to the strong winds, it was decided to launch the all-weather lifeboat and search the area beyond the end of the pier to be absolutely certain that there was no vessel in distress.

After a thorough search the volunteers were stood down and returned to station for a de-brief, the charity said.

It is the first time anyone can remember the Whitby lifeboat launching on Christmas Day.

Mr Fields said: “Thank you to our dedicated volunteers who leave their family celebrations at a moment’s notice to save lives at sea – we couldn’t do what we do without their commitment.”

The coxswain, who was on annual leave when he spotted the flare, said: “If you spot a distress flare you’re back on duty in an instant.

“We think that it had possibly been let off as a celebration rather than in distress. We would like to remind people to only use red flares in an emergency.”

Published: by Radio NewsHub


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