Kinghorn Lifeboat Station 2016 Review
Kinghorn RNLI lifeboat station continues to thrive, with 2016 being as busy on the shore as on the water. The crew now looks forward to the challenges which 2017 will bring, including the RNLI’s new ‘opt in’ arrangements for keeping in touch with supporters.
The volunteer crew is on call 24/7 365 days a year, and continued to be ready to answer the pager, throughout the festive period. Kinghorn Lifeboat covers much of the Firth of Forth, responding to incidents from Largo across to Aberlady and westwards to the Forth Bridges.
Over the past year, the Kinghorn volunteers have been launched over 40 times on service, saving five lives in the process. The crew has also been kept busy with regular training sessions and fundraising events.
Alan McIlravie, Lifeboat Operations Manager, ‘All of the operational crew and our fundraising team have worked very hard again to fund and maintain our 24/7 service.
‘We have had several notable callouts this year, including the rescue of several casualties from the water and coastline, and working with the new UK Coastguard helicopter.
‘The year started on a high following the rescue of two casualties who had been blown offshore from Portobello on their stand-up paddle boarders, and were located over four miles from their start point. Along with colleagues from Queensferry lifeboat and a Royal Navy helicopter, the pair were located and flown to hospital. The two ladies had a very lucky escape, and have since visited the station to meet the crew.
‘This callout resonated with the RNLI’s campaign, ‘Respect the Water’, which was launched in 2015 with the aim of reducing coastal drowning by half by 2024, the 200th anniversary of the RNLI. The campaign has seen messages across the media highlighting the risks of water, and hopefully making people think twice when near the water. Research shows that many people who end up in the water had no intention of getting into, or on, the water, but were caught out by factors such as weather and wave conditions.
‘This situation was clearly illustrated in May when the lifeboat was tasked to search for a small inflatable boat near Inchkeith. The vessel had set off from Pettycur for a day trip to the island, but on the return leg the wind increased and the small boat was pushed eastwards, into more open water. Fortunately, the two men on board, who were not wearing lifejackets, stayed in the boat and we found them two miles east of Inchkeith.
‘All of these rescues would not be possible without the significant amount of training undertaken by our team. During 2016 the crew has undertaken regular sessions both afloat and at the station including national seamanship and navigation certificates, as well as working with our flank stations at Anstruther, North Berwick, and Queensferry, and our local RNLI beach lifeguards. We have also taken part in training with partner agencies and local dive and boat charter companies. The new UK Coastguard helicopter from Prestwick visited in February. This is a new type of aircraft which our crew had to become familiar with, and has also put this training into practice three times since.
‘Looking to 2017, we would urge anyone who lives in Kinghorn, and is physically fit, to come along and find out more about volunteering with the RNLI. Volunteering with the RNLI is a hugely rewarding hobby. There are many roles within the Kinghorn team, and experience of these jobs is not necessary. First class training is provided, and the camaraderie is enriching. We intend to hold information sessions and come and try events in early 2017, so keep an eye out for the adverts, or get in touch with us through our website.
‘Finally, I must also highlight the long service awards made to crew members Keith Hay and Scott McIlravie, who between them notched up 50 years of service in 2016. Keith received recognition for 30 years and Scott for 20 years of service. They both received their awards at a ceremony in Perth in June.’
Fundraising continues to take place throughout the year, with the Coastal Challenge sponsored walk from Leven to Kinghorn being very successfully launched in May, and the Kinghorn Santa run in November.
Sheona Smith, fundraising chairperson, said, ‘Our varied events this year have been extremely well supported and we hope that this variety keeps the events fresh and entertaining. We held our popular Christmas Shopping Evening at the Kingswood Hotel after a break of a year and this was met with renewed enthusiasm from volunteers and supporters alike.
‘We were delighted with the number of people who came along to our inaugural Mayday Coastal Challenge. Mayday is the RNLI’s welly-themed flagship annual community fundraising campaign and we are currently working on a new route for the next walk to be held on Saturday 6th May 2017.
‘Our ever-popular Open Day will be held on Saturday 22nd July and we look forward to welcoming our supporters along to Kinghorn to see the station and meet the volunteers.
‘Our crewmembers organised Kinghorn’s first Santa Run in November, and it was great to see so many families coming along to take part. This followed on from the success of our second Big Fish Supper event which sold out three weeks ahead!
‘Once again, we have received fantastic support from our local community and “Thank you” seems an inadequate way of expressing our gratitude....however “Thank you” from the bottom of our yellow wellies! Our fundraising is vital to support the lifeboat service and allows us to provide the level of emergency cover required for this area.
‘From 1st January 2017 the RNLI will change the way it contacts supporters; the institution will only interact with supporters who have ‘opted-in’. This way, you can be sure you’ll only hear about our lifesaving work if you’ve chosen to. You can also choose how you want to be contacted - whether by post, email, phone, or a combination of all three. It's entirely up to you.
‘We are making this change because we believe it's the right thing to do. We pride ourselves on our ethical approach to fundraising, so we're putting you in control of how we get in touch. It is important that as many of our supporters visit rnli.org/savelives website and give their permission to be contacted in future. I would urge you, your family, and friends to sign up.’Kinghorn Lifeboat volunteers have launched 41 times in 2016, spending over 51 hours at sea on service, rescuing or assisting 20 people, and saving 5 lives.
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, in a normal year, 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.