HM Coastguard had been co-ordinating search and rescue activities on Loch Ness since the early nineteen-eighties. Two auxiliary Coastguard units were stationed at Fort Augustus and Drumnadrochit for communication with the Coastguard Co-ordination Center in Aberdeen. In the early days, the Coastguard requested the use of private boats for rescue activities, as there was no dedicated provider on the Loch.
Eventually a dedicated rescue boat for Loch Ness was based at Temple Pier, Drumnadrochit. The first boat was a 5.5 metre RIB powered by a single 74 HP outboard engine. This craft was capable of 30 knots and was equipped with VHF communications and rescue equipment. Coastguard volunteers were specifically trained in rescue boat activities and in 1996 a boathouse and base was established at Temple Pier.
In 2006 the Coastguard Boat Policy was reviewed and recognized the fact that the RNLI, who were the main providers of lifeboats in the UK, now had a policy for operating on non tidal waters. An agreement was concluded in 2007 for the transfer of rescue boat activities to the RNLI, which has resulted in the provision of an Atlantic 75 lifeboat taking up duties with many of the existing coastguard crew from 2 April 2008.
An Atlantic 75 lifeboat B707 Mercurius was placed on service on Wednesday 2 April. At this time there are now 234 established RNLI stations.
An Atlantic 75 lifeboat B737 Thelma Glossop was placed on service in September. Lifeboat B707 Mercurius has been withdrawn.