Troon Lifeboat tore out to sea to rescue a 35 ft yacht after Belfast Coastguard managed to decipher the vessel was in trouble.

Troon cruising club member Ian Douglas was in the marina for his Wacky Races event when he overheard the baffling mayday call on Wednesday evening at 6.25pm.

The Ayr Councillor said: “We were about to leave and somebody came on the radio. We heard them say ‘hello, hello’ and Belfast Lifeguard had to ask: ‘are you in trouble.’ “They said they couldn’t start the engine.” “It sounded completely unprofessional and wasn’t proper protocol at all. If you need help at sea there are proper terms to use such as ‘pan, ‘pan’. Next thing there is also a mix-up with his position. The conditions were so calm, I’m surprised he didn’t sail back. There is plenty of training available for people going out in boats.” The Troon Lifeboat crew headed out to the rescue the stricken boat at Prestwick but had to backtrack as they were given the wrong position.

They eventually located the yacht by Lady Isle.

Troon Lifeboat Coxswain Joe Millar said: “He had machinery trouble so we towed him in. Intiially we were given information he was off Prestwick but he was over to the south of Lady Isle.

“It is bread and butter work for us to tow him in. We are happy to help.”