At 3:15pm on January 3, Portland Coastguard received a routine telephone call from a member of the public advising the Coastguard that he had received a phone call from the skipper of the 11-metre Fishing Vessel ‘Purbeck Isle’, reporting they were taking water.

The informant was unsure how many people were on board, the position was vague, but somewhere off Chesil Beach, west of Portland.

Portland Coastguard immediately tasked the Weymouth RNLI all weather lifeboat and the Coastguard Rescue Helicopter R-106.

Three further telephone calls were received at Portland Coastguard: from a parent of one of the crew; the owner of the vessel; and an off-duty lifeboatman.

No-one on board thought to report their predicament to the Coastguard using either their mobile phones, the VHF radio, or any other modern technological methods available to commercial mariners.

Three other fishing vessels, including the ‘Gordeano Star’ and the ‘Swordfish’ all responded to the Coastguard broadcast and were tasked.

The Coastguard Rescue Helicopter arrived on scene at 3:30pm and lowered their winch-man onto the deck of the stricken fishing vessel to find there were three people on board.

The fishing vessel was indeed taking on water so the Rescue Helicopter lowered the Coastguard salvage pump and started to fight the ingress of water.

The lifeboat arrived on scene at 4pm and put two of their crew on board the casualty vessel; once it was determined the salvage pump was coping with the ingress, the Coastguard Rescue Helicopter and the additional fishing vessels were released from this incident.

The ‘Purbeck Isle’ was taken under tow by the Weymouth lifeboat for Weymouth where they were met by Wyke Regis Coastguard Rescue Officers. Coastguard surveyors have been advised.

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency would like to remind mariners that VHF DSC is the most appropriate method to alert the maritime rescue services as only this system automatically provides the Coastguard with the position and identity of the casualty; reducing uncertainty, and allowing for the efficient and timely tasking of the correct SAR resources.