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.”