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Vessel on Fire Prompts Launch for Largs Lifeboat in Western Scotland

28th May 2021
Largs RNLI’s inshore lifeboat RA Wilson
File image of Largs RNLI’s inshore lifeboat RA Wilson Credit: RNLI/Alasdair Woods

Pagers sounded for Largs RNLI’s volunteers yesterday afternoon (Thursday 27 May) after reports over VHF radio of a vessel on fire off Inverkip, on the Firth of Clyde in western Scotland.

The inshore lifeboat made best speed to the scene shortly after the 2.15pm alert, and on arrival learned that another boat had taken the crew from the casually vessel had them in tow to nearby Inverkip Marina.

It was established the crew of the casualty vessel had extinguished the fire and as the danger was now over, with no injuries reported, the lifeboat returned to station.

Much earlier yesterday, off Scoland’s east coast, Stonehaven RNLI launched the aid of a sailing vessel with engine problems.

The vessel was heading north under sail and had reached Dunnottar Castle, just south of Stonehaven, when the wind dropped at around 1am. Attempts were made to start the engine, but these were not successful.

The crew of the inshore lifeboat Jamie Hunter escort a sailing vessel with engine trouble into Stonehaven Harbour | Credit: RNLIThe crew of the inshore lifeboat Jamie Hunter escort a sailing vessel with engine trouble into Stonehaven Harbour | Credit: RNLI

As concerns grew that the tide might pull the boat towards the rocky coast, the UK Coastguard called out the station’s inshore lifeboat Jamie Hunter, which was launched at 4am.

After reaching the vessel and confirming its two crew members were safe and well, Largs RNLI put mechanic Paul Sim on board to assess the situation and he was able to get limited power from the engine — which allowed the vessel to be escorted into Stonehaven Harbour just after 7am.

Speaking just after the callout, lifeboat helm Andy Martin said: “It was certainly an early morning pager call for our volunteer crew, and they quickly got to the scene.

“It had the potential to become quite dangerous for the sailing vessel, but Paul’s mechanical experience and expertise came in very handy.

“We are pleased to have been able to help and the situation worked out with everyone recovered safe and well.”

In other lifeboat news from Scotland, Tobermory RNLI launched on Wednesday (26 May) following a report of a semi-submerged kayak with a dry bag in Sanna Bay, Ardnamurchan.

File image of Tobermory RNLI’s Severn Class lifeboat | Credit: RNLI/Sam JonesFile image of Tobermory RNLI’s Severn Class lifeboat | Credit: RNLI/Sam Jones

Stornoway Coastguard confirmed that the kayak had been reported to have been washed out to sea from Loch Scavaig on the Isle of Skye and that there were no missing persons.

The lifeboat crew recovered the kayak and dry bag and transported them to Kilchoan where they were left in the care of the local Coastguard Rescue Team.

The shout came six days after a callout to a yacht which had lost its drive in the Sound of Mull last Thursday evening, 20 May. The lifeboat met the yacht at the entrance to Tobermory Bay and, using an alongside tow, assisted it to berth at the harbour pontoons.

Tobermory RNLI station coxswain David McHaffie said: “In both of these incidents, the people involved made the correct call and contacted the coastguard so that we were able to respond in good time. We would much rather be called out too early than too late.”

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Royal National Lifeboat Institute (RNLI) in Ireland Information

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) is a charity to save lives at sea in the waters of UK and Ireland. Funded principally by legacies and donations, the RNLI operates a fleet of lifeboats, crewed by volunteers, based at a range of coastal and inland waters stations. Working closely with UK and Ireland Coastguards, RNLI crews are available to launch at short notice to assist people and vessels in difficulties.

RNLI was founded in 1824 and is based in Poole, Dorset. The organisation raised €210m in funds in 2019, spending €200m on lifesaving activities and water safety education. RNLI also provides a beach lifeguard service in the UK and has recently developed an International drowning prevention strategy, partnering with other organisations and governments to make drowning prevention a global priority.

Irish Lifeboat Stations

There are 46 lifeboat stations on the island of Ireland, with an operational base in Swords, Co Dublin. Irish RNLI crews are tasked through a paging system instigated by the Irish Coast Guard which can task a range of rescue resources depending on the nature of the emergency.

Famous Irish Lifeboat Rescues

Irish Lifeboats have participated in many rescues, perhaps the most famous of which was the rescue of the crew of the Daunt Rock lightship off Cork Harbour by the Ballycotton lifeboat in 1936. Spending almost 50 hours at sea, the lifeboat stood by the drifting lightship until the proximity to the Daunt Rock forced the coxswain to get alongside and successfully rescue the lightship's crew.

32 Irish lifeboat crew have been lost in rescue missions, including the 15 crew of the Kingstown (now Dun Laoghaire) lifeboat which capsized while attempting to rescue the crew of the SS Palme on Christmas Eve 1895.

FAQs

While the number of callouts to lifeboat stations varies from year to year, Howth Lifeboat station has aggregated more 'shouts' in recent years than other stations, averaging just over 60 a year.

Stations with an offshore lifeboat have a full-time mechanic, while some have a full-time coxswain. However, most lifeboat crews are volunteers.

There are 46 lifeboat stations on the island of Ireland

32 Irish lifeboat crew have been lost in rescue missions, including the 15 crew of the Kingstown (now Dun Laoghaire) lifeboat which capsized while attempting to rescue the crew of the SS Palme on Christmas Eve 1895

In 2019, 8,941 lifeboat launches saved 342 lives across the RNLI fleet.

The Irish fleet is a mixture of inshore and all-weather (offshore) craft. The offshore lifeboats, which range from 17m to 12m in length are either moored afloat, launched down a slipway or are towed into the sea on a trailer and launched. The inshore boats are either rigid or non-rigid inflatables.

The Irish Coast Guard in the Republic of Ireland or the UK Coastguard in Northern Ireland task lifeboats when an emergency call is received, through any of the recognised systems. These include 999/112 phone calls, Mayday/PanPan calls on VHF, a signal from an emergency position indicating radio beacon (EPIRB) or distress signals.

The Irish Coast Guard is the government agency responsible for the response to, and co-ordination of, maritime accidents which require search and rescue operations. To carry out their task the Coast Guard calls on their own resources – Coast Guard units manned by volunteers and contracted helicopters, as well as "declared resources" - RNLI lifeboats and crews. While lifeboats conduct the operation, the coordination is provided by the Coast Guard.

A lifeboat coxswain (pronounced cox'n) is the skipper or master of the lifeboat.

RNLI Lifeboat crews are required to follow a particular development plan that covers a pre-agreed range of skills necessary to complete particular tasks. These skills and tasks form part of the competence-based training that is delivered both locally and at the RNLI's Lifeboat College in Poole, Dorset

 

While the RNLI is dependent on donations and legacies for funding, they also need volunteer crew and fund-raisers.

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