The Initial Response Team, the IRT, was tasked to assist with the recovery of a 5M motor vessel that had broken down 3 nautical miles south east of Lyme Regis harbour. The boat had been drifting for 3 hours without power. The first reports from the boat suggested that they were in a different area. The coastguard eventually managed to get a visual fix on the vessel and the RNLI lifeboat was sent to assist. The lifeboat towed the boat back to the harbour. The casualty vessel did not have a VHF radio only a mobile phone for communications.
The Coastguard strongly recommend that boats take a VHF radio with them for 3 key reasons 1) the mobile phone signal becomes very unreliable off shore ,2) an emergency call can be received not only by the Coastguard but by other ships and 3) the Coastguard can use the VHF signal to provide an indication of the vessel’s likely location.