At 2.05pm today, an unknown person attempted to contact Dover Coastguard on a marine radio channel, calling “Mayday” without identifying themselves or their location.
As the broadcast was determined to have been sent from the Folkestone area, Rescue 1 (our only working lifeboat after last month’s engine theft from our main lifeboat) was deployed with two senior crew and our medical officer on standby.
Dover Coastguard coordinated a search along the coast using the SAR helicopter and ground crew for any possible persons in distress. Rescue 1 was tasked in the direction of Dover to search along the Warren to Samphire Hoe, a task that was made difficult by increasingly choppy waters as the wind picked up.
After approximately two hours of searching and no sighting of any vessels or persons in distress, Rescue 1 was stood down and recalled to base at 4.15pm. The reason for the call was still unknown, and as there was no further radio communication from the Mayday caller, it was deemed likely to have been a false alarm; either made with good intent or maliciously.
As this incident demonstrates, our crew will always treat any call for help as genuine, working alongside Coastguard and other rescue services to help anyone who may be at risk.