Channel 16 accidentally blocked

The coastguard has warned that the number of yachts accidentally blocking the emergency Channel 16 is rising.

Lives are being putting at risk by yachts inadvertantly leaving their radios transmitting.

In recent weeks lifeboats and even a helicopter have been dispatched to find the transmitter, because of fears a Mayday could be missed.

Coastguard watch officer Audrey Pedersen said: ‘If we miss a mayday call it could have very serious consequences.

‘Most of the time when this happens it’s short lived and only an irritation, but when it goes on for hours it puts lives in danger because we could easily miss a mayday signal.

‘If members of the public are going to take private boats out they need to pay extra special attention to their microphones to make sure they are not left broadcasting

Every time a helicopter is sent out it costs the taxpayer £6,000 per hour with an RNLI all-weather lifeboat costing at £5,500.

Solent coastguard watch officer Katherine Piggin said missing a mayday ‘becomes so much easier to do if we have constant chatter buzzing in our ears because someone has left their microphone on permanent transmit’

Subscribe to Yachting Monthly magazine for all the latest sailing news and reviews