Kyle of Lochalsh & Mallaig RNLI called to assist stricken ferry aground off Skye

Lifeboats News Release

Kyle of Lochalsh RNLI's volunteer crew were paged at 4:22pm Tuesday 2nd October, after the Glenelg to Skye turntable ferry ran aground in the Kylerhea narrows during a rapidly dropping tide

Skye Ferry aground on the pier with Mallaig lifeboat behind & a Coastguard vehicle in front

RNLI/Andrew MacDonald

Skye Ferry aground on the pier with Mallaig lifeboat behind

Kyle lifeboat, Spirit of Fred. Olsen launched at 4.30pm and made best speed towards the Kylerhea narrows, where the Glenachulish had ran aground on the pier at Kylerhea. Kyle lifeboat arrived on scene at 4:40pm, and found the ferry had ran aground as the vehicles were being offloaded, leaving 1 vehicle stranded on the deck.

Kyle lifeboat and 2 passing working vessels, the Beinn Fhada and Annie E attached a tow to the ferry and tried to free her before the tide dropped too far, however the attempt was unsuccessful. Mallaig lifeboat then arrived on scene at 5:15pm, but as the tide had dropped substantially, it was decided it was safer to leave the ferry aground on the pier until the tide began to flood again in a few hours.

Both lifeboats stayed on scene to oversee and monitor the situation until the tide was high enough to attempt to float the ferry free approximately 5 hours later. At 9.20pm, the tide had risen enough, and the lifeboats managed to get the ferry free of the pier.

Kyle lifeboat departed the scene at 9:45pm, and was refuelled and made ready for service by 10:10pm.

Speaking of the incident, a Kyle lifeboat spokesman said, ‘The Kylerhea narrows is a fast flowing stretch of water, which has fierce currents running through it at 8 knots. Even the most experienced skipper can fall foul of these changing currents, and the crew on board the Glenachulish were well prepared, extremely professional and did the right thing in calling for assistance when they ran aground.’

Notes to editors:

  • The Glenachulish is the last manually operated turntable ferry in Scotland
  • Please credit the picture to Kyle RNLI

RNLI media contacts:

Andrew MacDonald, Kyle of Lochalsh RNLI Volunteer Press Officer on 07748 707606 or [email protected]

Or Henry Weaver, RNLI Public Relations Manager Scotland, 01738 642946, 07771 943026, [email protected]

Or contact RNLI Public Relations on 01202 336789.

Kyle lifeboat trying to tow the Glenelg Ferry off the pier

RNLI/Andrew MacDonald

Kyle lifeboat trying to tow the Glenelg Ferry off the pier

RNLI/Andrew MacDonald

Glenelg Ferry stuck on the pier

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