Two missing divers were rescued after a HM Coastguard helicopter was able to direct lifeboat crew to them – and having DSMBs was a vital part of them being seen.
The Coastguard helicopter from Lydd was sent to conduct a search shortly before 3.15pm on 11 September, following a report from a dive boat approximately four nautical miles northeast of the Port of Dover. The vessel reported two divers overdue by 15 minutes, with the vessel also experiencing engine trouble and unable to search.
Dover and Walmer RNLI lifeboats were also launched, alongside Langdon Coastguard Rescue Team and South East Coast Ambulance Service.
Following searches, the helicopter found the divers bobbing in the water with high-visibility DSMBs and was able to direct Walmer lifeboat to the two, near the South West Goodwin buoy.
The helicopter then stayed on scene as the lifeboat worked to bring the two out of the water.
The lifeboat returned to shore where they were met by Langdon coastguards, to conduct welfare checks. Meanwhile, Dover lifeboat were sent to tow the dive vessel back to shore.
HM Coastguard’s network commander said: “The dive vessel initially triggered a PanPan alert but almost immediately upgraded it to a Mayday when they realised they would be unable to search for their crew.
“It was the right thing to do as we were immediately able to send resources to search for them. The Lydd helicopter spotted them in the water – helped by the high-vis DSMBs they had – and was able to direct the lifeboat to them and get them out of the water as soon as possible.
“They did everything right in having the appropriate equipment – with a means of calling for help, recognising when it was time to call for help and then having the right kit to be easily seen in the water.
“Things can go wrong at sea so it is vital that you are prepared.”
If you’re planning a trip to the coast or sea, check out our safety advice on the website.