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RNLI Kessock prevent 50 tonne fishing boat grounding

About the author

Image of Dan Holland

Dan Holland
Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer at Kessock.

Start quoteIn already shallow water and drifting into even shallower water, a tow line was quickly established to prevent her running aground.End quote

Lifeboats News Release

  • Date:
  • Author: Dan Holland

The volunteer crew of RNLI Kessock were this morning (Tuesday 10 July) requested to launch the RNLI Lifeboat, The Moray Dolphin, to go to the aid of a disabled fishing boat, Ellen Mac about 2.5 miles from the RNLI Lifeboat station.

Launching into calm sea conditions and an ebbing tide, initial information suggested the 50 tonne, 37 foot long Ellen Mac had run aground. When the volunteer crew from RNLI Kessock arrived on scene they discovered Ellen Mac still afloat, but suffering from an overheated engine caused by water pump failure. Her 3 crew were safe and well.

In already shallow water and drifting into even shallower water, a tow line was quickly established to prevent her running aground.

RNLI Helmsman Stan MacRae was then able to start towing the fishing boat back towards Inverness Harbour. But with no effective steering and running against the tide it took nearly an hour to cover the short distance home.

Stan MacRae said ‘It was good that sea conditions were calm today as the towline was stretched to its limits pulling the fishing boat. The tow was made more difficult because the vessel had no steering so she weaved from side to side throughout the passage home, at times almost alongside us. Running against the tide was just one more complication to the shout.’

An hour after securing the tow, both boats reached Inverness. Due to the size of Ellen Mac in relation to the Atlantic 75 Class lifeboat and the tide running through the harbour at the time, the Inverness Harbour pilot boat, Carnarc was launched to assist. 

Carnarc is an ex-RNLI Tyne class lifeboat. She took the weight of the casualty vessel while Helmsman Stan MacRae manoeuvred her alongside the harbour using the RNLI lifeboat.

With the lifeboat safely moored, Kessock lifeboat volunteers returned to the lifeboat station to refuel and ready The Moray Dolphin for her next shout.

Notes to Editors:

For more information about the RNLI Atlantic 75 class of Lifeboat click here: http://rnli.org/aboutus/lifeboatsandstations/lifeboats/Pages/B-class-(Atlantic).aspx

When the Carnac was an active RNLI Tyne class Lifeboat she was called Good Shepard

For more information about the RNLI Tyne class Lifeboats click here:


Shows fishing vessel Ellen Mac secured in Inverness harbour with RNLI Kessock lifeboat The Moray Dolphin. Credit: RNLI

Media contacts:
Dan Holland, Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer, RNLI Kessock, 07900 567 496, dnjholland@hotmail.co.uk

Richard Smith, RNLI Public Relations Manager for Scotland, 01738 642956, 07786 668903, richard_smith2@rnli.org.uk

Henry Weaver, RNLI Press Officer for Scotland, 01738 642946, 07771 943026, henry_weaver@rnli.org.uk

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Key facts about the RNLI

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is the charity that saves lives at sea. Our volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland from 237 lifeboat stations, including four along the River Thames and inland lifeboat stations at Loch Ness, Lough Derg, Enniskillen and Lough Ree. Additionally the RNLI has more than 1,000 lifeguards on over 180 beaches around the UK and operates a specialist flood rescue team, which can respond anywhere across the UK and Ireland when inland flooding puts lives at risk.

The RNLI relies on public donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. As a charity it is separate from, but works alongside, government-controlled and funded coastguard services. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824 our lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved at least 140,000 lives. Volunteers make up 95% of the charity, including 4,600 volunteer lifeboat crew members and 3,000 volunteer shore crew. Additionally, tens of thousands of other dedicated volunteers raise funds and awareness, give safety advice, and help in our museums, shops and offices.

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For more information please visit the RNLI website or Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. News releases, videos and photos are available on the News Centre.

Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

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The RNLI is a charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SC037736). Charity number 20003326 in the Republic of Ireland