RNLI Longhope lifeboat retrieves liferaft.
An empty inflatable liferaft adrift in the Pentland Firth.
RNLI Longhope lifeboat crew were paged today at 12.30 and requested to launch by UK Coastguard. An inflatable liferaft with no persons onboard had been reported drifting in the Pentland Firth
The 25 man liferaft had been lost yesterday from the Papa Westray ferry Golden Mariana, as she returned from refit at Inverness. Once located, the crew members had a tricky job of securing the raft to the lifeboat. as there are no fittings with which to attach a rope. However with some ingenious rope work the crew managed to lasso the liferaft and wedge part of it onto the transom at the stern.
The seas were moderate with a cold, south easterly wind gusting 30knts. Progress back to Hoy was slow due to the strong tides and vulnerability of the liferaft but eventually the more sheltered waters of Aith Hope were reached. Once close inshore the liferaft was strategically released and the wind blew it ashore where the Hoy Coastguards were waiting to retrieve it.
An unusual call out but a great example of problem solving and teamwork from the volunteer crew members.
The lifeboat returned to station and was ready again for service at 17.30.
Key facts about the RNLI
The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates over 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.