RNLI Longhope lifeboat retrieves liferaft.

Lifeboats News Release

An empty inflatable liferaft adrift in the Pentland Firth.

RNLI Longhope lifeboat locates lost liferaft adrift in the Pentland Firth

RNLI/Mary Harris

RNLI Longhope lifeboat locates lost liferaft

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.

Two crew members lasso liferaft to secure to lifeboat

RNLI/Mary Harris

Two man lasso
Volunteer Crew Member Kenny Budge adds another rope to liferaft

RNLI/Mary Harris

An extra rope for precaution
Volunteer Crew Members Kenny Budge and Colin Bates make some final adjustments to securing ropes

RNLI/Mary Harris

Modification of securing ropes
Lifeboat underway after liftraft finally secured and partially jammed into transom.

RNLI/Mary Harris

Liftraft finally secured and partially jammed into transom.

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.

Learn more about the RNLI

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

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or or by email.