Oban lifeboat launches in storm force winds to vessels in difficulty
It was a long and challenging night for Oban lifeboat (Saturday 29 July) launching in storm force winds to aid multiple vessels in the Firth of Lorn.
The evening began as Oban lifeboat, ‘Mora Edith MacDonald’, launched on service at 10.30pm to a 36ft yacht with 2 adults and 2 children on board that had grounded after dragging its anchor in the Puilladobhrain anchorage, at the north end of the Isle of Seil.
The lifeboat left the berth at 10.44pm, arriving on scene shortly after. With the yacht aground but in no immediate danger it was decided to evacuate the family to await the rising tide. The lifeboat’s daughter craft, the xp boat, was launched and two crew members proceeded to the grounded vessel, evacuating first the two children and then the adults. With everyone safely on board, the lifeboat departed the scene for Oban at 12.10am, with the intention of returning later to refloat the vessel.
However, just as the lifeboat departed the scene, the Coastguard received two further requests for assistance. The first was a vessel in Loch Feochan, followed by a ‘Mayday’ from a small motor boat aground at the north end of Lismore.
Due to the weather conditions and nature of the requests, it was decided that the lifeboat make best speed for the north end of Lismore. Meanwhile, Oban’s Coastguard Rescue Team made their way to Loch Feochan.
The lifeboat proceeded to the Port Ramsey area of Lismore, while Tobermory lifeboat were also tasked to assist but were required elsewhere. With the southwesterly wind now gusting 40 to 50 knots and a rough sea, the journey was challenging, not least for the casualties still on board from the first incident.
Oban lifeboat arrived on scene at 12.58am. Although the conditions on scene were poor and the location of the vessel was restrictive, it was established that the one person and dog on board were no longer in any immediate danger. Given the rough weather, it was therefore decided to transfer the casualties from the first incident to the nearby safe haven of Glensanda Quarry while the lifeboat assisted with the second incident.
Once back on scene and with weather conditions improving slightly, the lifeboat’s daughter craft was used again to allow two crew members to assist with the refloating of the vessel. Once afloat and with no damage sustained the vessel was escorted across to Glensanda to await for calmer weather, arriving alongside at 4.30am. With the vessel and owner safe, the remaining casualties from the first incident were transferred back on board the lifeboat for the journey back in to Oban.
Seven hours after first launching, Oban lifeboat arrived back in Oban where the family were brought safely ashore. The volunteer crew departed again at 5.55am with one family member, returning to Puilladobhrain to refloat the vessel. On scene by 6.20am, the yacht refloated soon after. The lifeboat stood by while the owner checked for any damage and with all in working order the yacht proceeded home under their own power.
The lifeboat then returned to station, refuelled and ready for service again by 8am. 65 miles and 9.5 hours after initially launching.
Our thanks to the staff of Glensanda for their assistance during the evening.
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.