PORTAFERRY RNLI launched late yesterday evening (Wednesday 27 March) to reports that red flares had been sighted off Kircubbin in County Down.
The weather at the time of the launch was calm with good visibility but extremely cold.
The inshore lifeboat and its volunteer crew were stood down after a number of hours searching the area with the call out proving to be a false alarm with malicious intent.
Brian Bailie, Portaferry RNLI Volunteer Lifeboat Operations Manager, said: “It was always important for the public to remain vigilant, adding that the lifeboat would always respond to requests to search for anyone thought to be in difficulty at sea.
“A member of the public acted in good faith this evening alerting the emergency services to what they understood to be a distress flare on the Lough. Flares should only be used in emergency situations. In this incident the report turned out to be a false alarm. As the charity that saves lives at sea, we will always respond to such sightings and search for anyone who is thought to be in danger. It is always better to have searched and come back knowing it was a false alarm, than to have thought it was a false alarm and not have responded.
“We would ask anyone intending to set off flares or anything that could be mistaken for a flare to alert the Coast Guard first.” explained Brian.