RNLI Kessock celebrate 25 years of Saving Lives at Sea
The volunteer crew of RNLI Kessock are today (Tuesday 5 June) celebrating 25 years of saving lives at sea from the Black Isle village of North Kessock.
On the 5 June 1993 the RNLI placed a trial D class lifeboat in the village of North Kessock. The boat was stored at the old slipway while the ticket office for the then Kessock ferry doubled up as the crew changing room.
Initially on station for just one summer seasons evaluation and able to operate only during the hours of daylight the volunteer crew covered a patch ranging from the mouth of the Beauly river as far East as Culben sands and Findhorn. During the winter the lifeboat was put into hibernation until the next season.
After just one season the RNLI made North Kessock lifeboat station a permanent station and a new D class lifeboat (D459) was put on station. The crew continued to use the facilities at the Kessock ferry until 2001 when they relocated into their new home the current Kessock lifeboat station. When they moved the D class lifeboat was replaced with an Atlantic 75 inshore lifeboat, The Moray Dolphin, which was on station until January 2014 when the current lifeboat, an Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat, the Robert and Isobel Mowat was placed on service.
In the 25 years since being opened volunteer crews from Kessock have saved 36 lives, they have launched their lifeboat 700 times to go to the assistance of people in distress and have rescued 320 people. (Information correct as 7.30pm Sunday 3 June)
Today there are 25 volunteers at Kessock lifeboat station, all of whom are ready to respond to the sound of the pagers that they carry at all times. Coming from a variety of backgrounds including tree surgery, dentistry, estate agents, fish sales, pilot boat skipper, heating engineer and teachers to name just a few it shows that you don’t need a maritime background to volunteer for the RNLI.
One of the very original volunteer crew remains involved with Kessock lifeboat.
Alan McDiarmid, current Chairman of Kessock lifeboat recalls one of his most memorable shouts from the early days: ‘we were working with Invergordon lifeboat in tremendous breaking surf just off Nairn trying to get to a yacht that had gone aground. Conditions were too rough for Invergordon to get close so we had to take every bit of towline they had, link it with everything we had and head into the breaking waves to get to the yacht. We capsized the small Y-boat twice on the way in, but still managed to get the towline secured, despite it parting twice during the tow we were able to get the vessel floating. It was a great example of both crews working together in unpleasant conditions to help someone in distress’
Dan Holland, a Helmsman who has volunteered for 11 years at RNLI Kessock said: ‘What has characterised this station is that time and time again you think this is the best crew we’ve ever had. But then some new guys and girls come along and the sense of camaraderie gets better and as the years pass the crew gets better and better. We are tight knit bunch and with that comes a really strong sense of pride about what we do in the local community’
Stan MacRae, Senior Helmsman, who has volunteered at RNLI Kessock for 22 years added ‘the current lifeboat we have is fully equipped with radar, direction finding VHF, GPS, it can self right if it capsizes and much more. It is a tremendous Search and Rescue asset to have in Kessock and will continue to serve the area saving lives at sea for many years to come’
To mark the 25th anniversary the volunteer crew are being photographed by Jack Lowe and added to the iconic Lifeboat Station Project collection, the first time that every RNLI lifeboat crew have been bought together in a single photographic collection.
More information about The Lifeboat Station Project is available here on a related news release: RNLI Kessock added to The Lifeboat Station Project
Notes to Editors:
Members of the crew are available for interview. Please contact Dan Holland
For a full chronology of Kessock Lifeboat Station please look at the station page on the RNLI website here: Kessock lifeboat station
For more information on the performance and capability of the Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat, please read here: B Class Atlantic lifeboat
RNLI Kessock 1: The volunteer crew of RNLI Kessock
RNLI Kessock 2: Jack Lowe of The Lifeboat Station Project capturing the volunteer crew for the iconic collection.
Both pictures Credit: Charlie Phillips
Dan Holland, Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer, RNLI Kessock, 07900 567 496 firstname.lastname@example.org
Henry Weaver, RNLI Regional Media Manager for Scotland, 01738 642946, 07771 943026, email@example.com
Gemma Mcdonald, RNLI Regional Media Officer for Scotland. 01738 642956, 07826 900639
RNLI 24 hour Press Office, 01202 336789
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.