A flashing offshore tower is causing a surge in SOS reports

A flashing mast used to survey an offshore location for a possible wind farm has caused concern amongst boaters who believed the red and white lights were an SOS signal from a ship in distress.

The 360ft meteorological mast was positioned in April by energy company E. ON to measure wind speed, wave height and sea currents but has mistakenly been reported to the coastguard numerous times.

“We’ve had a number of 999 calls,” said Karen Bosman, watch officer at Solent Coastguard. “This mast is 110m high so it’s quite visible, so we’re getting an awful lot of calls about this vessel in distress.

“Thank goodness we know exactly where it is and the sequence of the flashing lights, so it would be a simple task to determine from the informant as to whether it’s the windfarm or not.”

“Obviously we don’t want to discourage people from calling in,” she added.

The company hopes to construct up to 195 turbines at the site, which could power up to 450,000 homes, reports the BBC.

A spokeswoman for the energy company said: “At night, the mast has a constant red aviation warning light at the top of the 110m structure and a flashing white marine navigation light nearer to sea level.

“If you see this on the horizon there is no need to alert the authorities.”