Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Solent coastguards warn about blocking distress channel

Coastguard transmitter
Image caption Accidental transmissions are blocking out emergency calls for the coastguard

Coastguards are warning sailors in the Solent that inadvertently transmitting on a radio distress channel is putting lives at risk.

They say problems are caused by faulty equipment or transmit buttons left on.

A small boat blocked the emergency Channel 16 during the Round the Island Race in June when the service dealt with 77 incidents in 10 hours.

Watch officer Gary Hall said: "It's very important if others are trying to call for life-saving assistance."

While emergency calls direct to the Coastguard can be made by mobile phone, distress calls on VHF radio have the advantage of being heard by other nearby shipping.

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