Girvan crew in multi-agency night search

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Girvan lifeboat volunteers were awoken at 1.26am on Sunday, July 23, as their pagers were activated by the Belfast Coastguard.

A member of the public had raised concerns for two small sailing dinghys which had left Prestwick on Saturday morning, July 22, and had failed to return, prompting a multi-agency search being put in place.

Girvan’s Mersey Class lifeboat “Silvia Burrell” was launched within minutes of the pagers going off and proceeded to make best speed northwards.

Enquiries, meanwhile, were being conducted by officers from Police Scotland, both in Ayrshire and further afield in relation to the two vehicles which had been located which belonged to the sailors, while an extensive area search was conducted involving Coastguard rescue teams from Ardrossan, Ayr, Girvan and Arran, volunteer RNLI lifeboat crews from Troon, Arran and Girvan, and the Coastguard Search and Rescue helicopter from Prestwick.

The coastline from Girvan to Ardrossan was slowly searched, including ports, marinas and other likely areas for boats coming ashore.

Girvan lifeboat joined the extensive search at sea.

After dawn, two small sailing boats matching the description of those being searched for were located on the Arran shoreline.

Enquiries were then conducted on Arran, which confirmed this was the two boats which the concerns were raised for and it was quickly established that all persons were safe and well and at no time were in need of any assistance.

Shortly after 6am, all rescue resources were then released from the incident and Girvan lifeboat returned to station where the it was washed, refuelled and made ready for service.

However no such rest for the volunteer crew, who got straight to work setting up for the Harbour Gala which was due to start in a mere six hours.

This call was classed as a false alarm with good intent and the member of the public who raised concerns and did the correct thing by phoning 999 and asking for the coastguard, was praised, due to the passage of time and the sailing boats not having returned.

A spokesperson for Girvan lifeboat said: “Our advice mirrors the coastguards – if leaving and heading to sea, please ensure you have the correct emergency and communications equipment on board and that you contact the Coastguard before you go, advising them of your intentions, and once again when you have reached your destination, it only takes a few minutes.”