A canoeist in trouble off the Needles without a marine VHF used his mobile to call, among others, his father in Dubai for assistance

Last Saturday evening, a sea kayak capsized of the Needles. The canoeist was unable to get back into the vessel and, as fatigue and the cold took effect, he resorted to his mobile since he had no marine VHF onboard.

He called his brother in Cambridge, his mother somewhere on the mainland and his father in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. It is unclear whether he called the emergency services at any stage.

His brother contacted Thames Coastguard while his father contacted Swansea Coastguard and both forwarded details to Solent Coastguard. His mother contacted Solent Coastguard directly at 1723.

Once alerted, Solent Coastguard scrambled SAR helicopter India Juliet from Lee on Solent and instructed Yarmouth Lifeboat to launch. The man was ashore by 1737.

“I spoke with the rescued man after the incident and have advised him to carry a marine radio in future,” said Solent Coastguard Watch Manager, Bob Terry, “so if he should need our help again he can radio us direct.

“Anyone wanting to report a marine emergency by telephone should dial 999 and ask for Coastguard. Being the fourth emergency service we have always been part of the 999 system, and this saves precious time in life threatening situations.”