Children accidentally spark major lifeboat search

Major search of the Severn Estuary triggered by children playing on a boat

Children playing on a boat in

Swindon accidentally triggered a major search of the Severn Estuary involving

four lifeboats. Coastguards alerted The Severn Area Rescue Association (SARA)

after receiving a DSC distress alert indicating that a boat was in grave

danger, and lifeboats were launched from SARA’s Sharpness and Beachley


Four lifeboats and 26 crew

members were involved in the fruitless search of the waters and shoreline

between Avonmouth and Sharpness, and they spent more than five hours at sea

before being stood down. Coastguards established that the equipment sending out

the distress alert was registered to a boat on the Hamble but which had been

sold and was lying ashore in Swindon.

It is thought that children

had climbed aboard the boat and set off the alarm while playing with the

distress equipment. A spokesman for SARA said that the cost of such false

alerts had a great impact on funding, adding, “I would urge any boat owners to

ensure when their craft are not in use to remove batteries to ensure that this

type of incident does not occur.”