Selsey RNLI took nearly four hours to search for a broken down boat yesterday, as the three-man crew didn’t know how to use the navigational equipment.
The UK Coastguard requested the Selsey all-weather lifeboat (ALB) at 1.42pm on Tuesday (January 10) after reports of a 32ft vessel suffering machine failure off Pagham Harbour close inshore.
A Selsey RNLI spokesperson said: “While the crew were mustering there was a doubt to the position given as Pagham is visible from the offshore boathouse and no vessels could be seen.
“The ALB launched at 1.53pm with six volunteers and proceeded to the given position arriving on scene at 2.18pm with still nothing could be seen.”
The coastguards then asked the lifeboat to search towards Bognor and said they had requested the inshore lifeboat (ILB) to launch to assist with the search for Barracuda III.
At the same time crewmember Max Gilligan was leaving the station to go back to work and went via the west side of Selsey to check the vessel was not there, according to Selsey RNLI.
The spokesperson continued: “He spotted a craft several miles to the west of Selsey and after contacting the Coxswain on the ALB the coastguards redirected the ILB to check the west side of Selsey.
“After several mobile phone calls to the crew of the Barracuda III with them identifying what they could see and the sighting from the shore the ILB finally found the vessel six miles North West of Selsey Bill – approximately ten miles from his given position.”
Due to the size of the Barracuda III, the coastguards requested Hayling RNLI lifeboat launch to assist the Selsey ILB.
Hayling lifeboat took the vessel under tow and towed them to Sparkes mariner in Chichester Harbour.
Selsey RNLI has confirmed that the Barracuda III was purchased by one of the crew members last week and was on passage from Leigh on sea (Essex) to Bournemouth and had all the navigational equipment in working order – but none of it was turned on as the crew didn’t know how to use them.