Distress flare sparks search by Hoylake and New Brighton RNLI

Hoylake and New Brighton RNLI lifeboats were requested to launch by the UK Coastguard just after 10.00pm on Monday 6 February following multiple 999 calls reporting that a red flare had been spotted off New Brighton.

Red flares, either fired as a rocket or held by hand, are widely used as a maritime distress signal and there were concerns that a person or vessel may have been in difficulty.

Hoylake’s all-weather Shannon class lifeboat Edmund Hawthorn Micklewood and New Brighton’s relief Atlantic 85 class inshore lifeboat Dylan Rotchell launched with their volunteer crews and headed to the area of the reported sighting off the Derby Pool.

The lifeboats began following search patterns coordinated by the Coastguard out to sea and in the River Mersey, using radar, searchlights and night vision to look for any potential casualties. Local Coastguard Rescue Teams also searched along the shoreline.

After the lifeboats completed several legs of their searches with no casualties located, the UK Coastguard Operations Centre concluded the search and both lifeboats were stood down.

The lifeboats returned to station to be washed down, refuelled and made ready for service again just before 3.00am.

Hoylake RNLI Coxswain Howie Owen said, “Both volunteer lifeboat crews carried out an extensive search at sea last night alongside Coastguard teams on the shore after the initial flare sighting. The sea conditions were calm and there was a full moon, which assisted the search.

“‘Although no casualty was located with no further reports of anyone in distress, we would always encourage anyone who sees a red flare to report it to the Coastguard immediately by dialling 999 or on VHF Channel 16.”

Image: New Brighton RNLI

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