Boats rescued by Newhaven lifeboat from the fog

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Two boats lost in the fog had to be rescued by Newhaven’s Severn Class lifeboat ‘RNLB David and Elizabeth Acland’ on Thursday September 5.

The lifeboat launched at 4.40pm to search for a power vessel with five people on board which was lost in the fog south of Hope Gap.

While on the way, Solent Coastguard told the lifeboat crew a second vessel with two people on board had called in as they were also lost in the fog.

Even though very close to shore and in 10ft of water, the two persons on board were unclear of their position.

The lifeboat went to the original position of the first boat, two miles south of Hope Gap, just to the west of the Cuckmere Valley.

The lifeboat deployed its direction finding (DF) equipment which enables it to establish a bearing from the lifeboat to the casualty through their VHF radio transmissions.

The first boat was found just south of the bank of fog and was escorted to the breakwater end.

The DF equipment was used to find the second boat, originally reported at Seaford Head.

With the help from Newhaven Coastguards, who picked up their weak VHF transmissions, the lifeboat found them just south of Rushy Hill Caravan Park near Peacehaven.

They were escorted back to the harbour, by which time the mist was lifting.

Deputy Second Coxswain Robert Parker said: “We would always recommend that vessels carry the absolute minimum of a compass.

“Always note a bearing back to port, so that if the mist does come in you have a route home.

“A GPS system is a great investment that lets you know exactly where you are.

“The fact that both vessels had VHF radios meant that we could find quickly and ensure safe passage back to the harbour.”