RNLI tasked after survival garment seen floating at sea

Larne RNLI's Dr. John McSparran lifeboat.
Larne RNLI's Dr. John McSparran lifeboat.

Larne RNLI responded to two emergencies off the Antrim coast on Saturday afternoon (July 8).

The volunteer lifeboat crew was requested to launch its all-weather and inshore lifeboats at 2.17pm after Belfast Coastguard reported that a red “survival suit” was seen floating on the water.

Beaches were busy and there were several boats on the water at the time.

Weather conditions were described as good with clear visibility.

The all-weather lifeboat, under coxswain Chris Dorman, and the inshore lifeboat helmed by Pamela Leitch, raced to the area two miles south-east of Hunter’s Buoy.

The lifeboats conducted a parallel search north for two miles in the direction of the tide before the inshore lifeboat crew spotted the object one mile into the search and recovered what was a fishing floatation suit from the water.

On their return to Larne, at approximately 3.15pm, the lifeboats received a second request from the Coastguard.

This time, they responded to a report from a member of the public that a blue kayak had been spotted out of Portmuck Harbour.

The crew proceeded to the area and conducted a search but nothing was found.

The lifeboats were stood down on the understanding that it was a “false alarm with good intent”.

Commenting on the operations, Chris said: “While today’s call outs didn’t involve people being rescued, we would remind anyone who is enjoying the good weather and taking to the sea for activities at this busy part of the summer season to always respect the water.

“Plan your trip carefully mindful of the weather and tide times. Always wear a lifejacket and carry a means of communication. If you happen to lose a piece of equipment or clothing, please report it and should you or someone you see get into difficulty, call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coastguard.”