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Solo Transatlantic Rower Found Safe After False Distress Alert

jack jarvis
Jack Jarvis aboard his rowboat, Budgie (Jack Jarvis / Facebook)

Published Feb 21, 2022 9:28 PM by The Maritime Executive

A British transatlantic solo rower prompted a search and rescue effort when his EPIRB accidentally went off on Sunday, according to the U.S. Coast Guard. 

Jack Jarvis, 28, is a former British soldier who is attempting an unsupported solo row from continental Europe to the United States mainland. It is a Guiness World Record attempt, and it follows a previously unused, southerly route from Portugal to Miami. The voyage is a fundraiser for Brainstrust, a UK-based brain tumor support charity.

On Sunday, watchstanders at Sector San Juan received a report from the UK Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre reporting an unlocated EPIRB alert. The MRCC reported that the EPIRB's listed emergency contact individual confirmed it belonged to Jarvis' rowboat, the Budgie. The contact also provided the boat's last known position as of 1600 hours on Sunday.

Sector San Juan issued an alert to merchant vessel traffic in the area and diverted an Ocean Sentry SAR plane from Air Station Cape Cod to conduct a search for the boat. The freighter Dyna Bulk also answered the request for assistance and volunteered to assist in the search. 

Budgie was located, and the distress signal turned out to be accidental. "This was a tremendous search effort which highlights the importance of registering your EPIRB as well as the great cooperation with our partners from Virgin Islands Search and Rescue and United Kingdom MRCC, who coordinated with us to locate Mr. Jarvis,” said Cmdr. Beau Powers, Sector San Juan chief of response.

Jarvis' shore team in the UK thanked HM Coastguard for its assistance in the response. "What a dramatic 24 hours it's been! A huge thank you to the Falmouth Coastguard for ensuring Jack was safe and well following an alert that thankfully turned out to be a false alarm," the mission said in a Facebook post.  "It just shows it isn’t always plain sailing out in the Atlantic but Jack is in good spirits and here's to another great week smashing more miles."