UK Coastguard are reminding sailors to register their personal locator beacon (PLB) with them after a solo skipper became ill on board his yacht and triggered his PLB for help

A solo sailor, who set off his personal locator beacon (PLB) when he became ill on board his yacht, has been airlifted to hospital.

The man triggered the PLB yesterday (10 May), and the UK Coastguard received the alert at 2.40pm.

As the skipper had registered his personal locator with the UK Coastguard, officers could contact his next of kin to find out the man’s whereabouts.

The man’s wife confirmed that he was sailing between Portland and Portsmouth.

UK Coastguard tasked a helicopter and requested the Weymouth RNLI Lifeboat to launch.

The helicopter homed in on the signal from the beacon, and once the sailor and his yacht were located, a helicopter winchman was able to assess the man.

He was then airlifted to Dorchester Hospital.

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Speaking on behalf of the UK Coastguard, Aimee Phillimore, said this operation showed the importance of a personal locator beacon.

“This is a great example of how a personal locator beacon, when properly used and registered, can save a person’s life,” she said.

“This solo sailor ensured that, should he get into difficulty whilst out at sea, he had the right equipment to give him the best chance of being located and rescued.”

“If you fall overboard, your boat is suddenly lost or you are taken ill whilst solo sailing, you’ll need to raise an alarm and ensure that you can be located.”

“A device such as a personal locator beacon (PLB) or a man overboard (MOB) device will assist in your rescue.”

“You will need to choose a device that is best for your type of water activity – consider whether you mainly sail close to shore or offshore and whether you are usually with other experienced crew. Your local chandler can advise you. Make sure that, if you decide upon a PLB, it is registered with the UK Coastguard”.