Coast Guard Activities

(8pm) As I waited for the tide to arrive I saw 5 ‘haaf netters’ go out to meet the first of the flood tide, behind them came 2 boys with fishing  rods to perch themselves on top of the harbour wall to do a bit of fishing. The tide barely lifted the boat but the weather had changed from a windless sunny evening to a cold easterly wind, a moonless night followed. I was bounced around while the keels scraped the bottom. The haaf netters returned happy as they had caught a salmon. As darkness came on and the tide ebbed I noticed a car with lights pointing towards the harbour, I thought it was the kids parents coming to pick them up from the harbour wall, then I noticed flashing lights on the Scottish side of the estuary that looked like an ambulance and police car, then a flare went up into the sky. I poked my head out of the cabin I heard radio signals and I put it all together and realised it was the Coast Guard and they were sending a boat out to look for the kids. The car’s headlights turned onto my boat as a land mark for the Coast Guard to head for, and as I could not see anything for the glare I went for a walk to the harbour. I met a coast guard carrying the smaller boy on his back and then followed the older boy. I asked if anyone wanted any hot drinks but the coast guard said “we are loosing water we have to go” (spoken in a Scottish accent, so different from the Cumbrian accent which is only 2 mile across the estuary). The boys had southern accents and were on holiday, they had gone fishing thinking the tide would be out soon but as it comes in fast it went out slow and the cold wind and the darkness made a girlfriend at the caravan park phone for the Coast Guard. The younger boys were not bothered explaining that they had seen several “large fish!” They were dressed in t-shirts; the older boy said “never again, I will now get in trouble off my girlfriend!” They were driven home by the man with the car, it was mid-night.
The authorities have closed the permanent Coast Guard Station at Silloth, now the nearest Station is in Liverpool. These men must have been volunteers on the Scottish side; they did not know the area as the man with the car who evidently must have been the Coast Guard on the Cumbrian side, told them to head for Annan as there is deeper water even with an ebbing tide. With such dangerous waters surely ‘cost’ should not be an issue?

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