To the OP, I had a very similar experience to what you described. I was walking on a local beach with my son in his stroller early in the morning. I saw about a 30 ft power boat
about 400' from shore. There was a strong onshore breeze with maybe 1.5 meter beach breaking seas. I so no sign of life on board. I called the CG on my cell phone
because the situation just seemed wrong. It was Sunday morning, my concern was that somebody may have attempted to swim or dinghy
back to the boat and not made it after visiting a beach bar the night before. The RCC operator was very calm and very polite. He asked me exactly what I saw and why I was concerned. They asked me if I would mind waiting on the beach with my cell phone
on so I could provide direction to the CG crew when they arrived.
About a half hour later the crew arrived in their RIB
. They circled the boat, blew their horn, used their loud hailers but didn't risk a boarding due to sea state.
The CG crew as well as the RCC operator made their own risk assessments. All I did was observe and report, which is what it sounds like you did.
Nobody put their lives at risk, the cost to the CG was fuel
that they would have used bombing around "training" any way. It was between 8 and 4, no overtime was incurred.
When people quote the high cost of SAR, they often overlook the fact that the very large cost of maintaining a SAR station is a fixed cost. Its there whether the assets are utilised or not.
Both RCC operators and SAR captains are more than capable of prioritising calls, they won't go out to check out an unusual situation if a baby is drowning and their response times are probably better if they are geared up and already on the water.
How many times have you seen Safe Boats out cruising around with machine guns
with no other purpose than to show the flag?
I'm not saying that you should call because of every little thing, but if you are a reasonable person, and it sounds like you are, you have a legitimate concern, there is no harm in making a call and reporting exactly what you see.
You might save some bodies life which is good for your soul, and the SAR boys will be much happier to intervene early rather than wait until its too late if a real problem exists, which is good for their souls too.
I say good on you for caring enough to make the call even though it turned out to be a false alarm
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