Radio 2's Jonathan Ross show steps in to assist the coastguard after a boat skipper blocks VHF Channel 16

The coastguard turned to Radio 2’s Jonathan Ross show to warn a boat skipper that he had blocked an international distress channel.

The vessel’s crew had left their microphone on, blocking channel 16 off the Kent coast, which is used for emergency calls at sea.

But canny Dover coastguard staff could hear Ross’s Saturday morning show in the background so they called the BBC, which made the appeal on Radio 2 during a news bulletin.

A coastguard spokesman said the vessel blocked the channel for around three hours.

“Unfortunately this happens quite a lot and we normally track down the vessel using direction finding but in this case we could not, so we approached the BBC,” he said.

Luckily the BBC was pleased to help out in this crisis.

“As the boat had Radio 2 playing in the background, the Radio 2 newsreader made the on-air appeal at the next opportunity, which was the midday news within Jonathan Ross’s show,” said a BBC spokesperson.

“We were happy to be of service.”