Thurso and Longhope RNLI act on the concern for family on the Pentland Firth

Lifeboats News Release

An incident took place on Wednesday 14 August near to John o Groats when a family took to the sea in a small inflatable dinghy. The group, which included children, were seen heading for the nearby island of Stroma in the Pentland Firth.

RNLI/Ron Gunn

Inflatable that the family used in the Pentland Firth

At 2.50pm, the family were spotted on the uninhabited island of Stroma by a concerned onlooker. After consulting a nearby RNLI volunteer, it was decided to alert the UK Coastguard to the situation.

The volunteer crew at Longhope RNLI were paged and put on standby.

About 6pm the dingy was seen on the sea heading for the mainland. About 6.50pm the dingy made it to the shore where they were helped by the waiting team.

The family were extremely relieved to make it safely back to dry land. In the six foot dingy were two adults and five children, no one was wearing a life jacket and they were completely unaware of the potentially perilous sea and tide conditions that exist in that area.

Advice and guidance was offered to the family.

There are several very important safety messages from this incident.

Do not go to sea in inappropriate inflatables.
Always wear a life-jackets.
Tell someone what you are planning.
Carry some form of communication.
If you see something untoward at sea do not hesitate to dial 999 and ask for the Coastguard.

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 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 by email.