May 21 2013 Latest news:
By STEVE DOWNES
Thursday, June 28, 2012
Frustrated coastguards hit out at “untrained sailors with ill-equipped craft” after two lifeboats had to rescue a yachtsman trying to get from Great Yarmouth to Hull without navigational aids.
Yarmouth Coastguard said the incident this morning was the third in recent weeks where people had used recently-bought boats that were not seaworthy.
And a spokesman warned would-be sailors to ensure they were fully trained and properly equipped to handle the unpredictable sea.
The warning came after coastguards were contacted at 3.23am by the skipper of a work boat called ECC Opal that was operating at Sheringham Shoal windfarm off Cromer.
The boat had been approached by a yachtsman in a vessel called Aloysia, who was asking “which way is Hull?”
Cromer’s all-weather lifeboat Lester was called out to investigate, and arrived at the yacht 14 miles offshore to find a man who was disorientated, probably due to tiredness, according to the spokesman.
He said: “The yacht had none of the recommended safety equipment like VHF radio or flares nor navigation aids such as GPS or even charts. Yarmouth Coastguard advised that purchasing a craft over the internet can certainly be problematic.”
The crew towed Aloysia to Wells and handed it over to Wells inshore lifeboat, which took it to Great Yarmouth.
Dave Moore, watch officer at Yarmouth Coastguard, said: “Especially at the start of the good weather we see an increase in ill-equipped craft and untrained sailors getting into trouble off our coast.
“This incident was the third in the last few weeks involving recently-purchased craft that were inadequately prepared for the sea. People get over enthusiastic with their new purchase and often overestimate their ability and underestimate the possible dangers.”
He added: “Anyone considering moving a craft by water should consider using a professional survey and ensure it is properly equipped, and especially for small craft consider if road transport is more appropriate.
“Experience and training for all on board should be up to the task of delivering an unfamiliar boat.”