Christmas Day Call Out For Aith Lifeboat

Lifeboats News Release

Christmas Denners in Aith were disrupted to tow a peerie boat to safety

RNLI/Steven Wilson

The Aith Lifeboat tows a small creel boat to safety on a cold, dark Christmas night
The Aith Lifeboat was launched at 1840 hours on Christmas Day, after a small creel boat suffered from engine problems and drifted dangerously close to rocks.

The ten metre creel boat was making its way from Aith to Clousta, with one crew member onboard, when its engines overheated and the vessel started to drift towards rocks near Muckle Roe. The crew member managed to drop anchor and call for help.

The volunteer crew of the RNLI Charles Lidbury responded within minutes, despite the time of year. They faced a tricky operation to establish a secure tow line in rough sea conditions, and arrived just in time - with the creel boat only metres away from the rocks.

Only on the third attempt was the lifeboat able to get close enough to pass a tow line across, and took the creel boat out to deeper water - before beginning to tow it back to the pier in Aith - returning there by 2100 hours.

Aith Lifeboat Coxswain, John Robertson, was sitting down to Christmas pudding with his family when the alarm was raised. He says he would like to thank the local RNLI volunteers for showing such commitment, and answering their pagers on Christmas Day.

"Most of the crew were finishing up Christmas denner, or visiting what family they could, when they were called into action. They still showed up to this shout in rapid time, despite poor sea conditions, and used their training to perform a successful rescue. This was a time critical operation. If we hadn't been able to respond so quickly, there might have been a different outcome."

RNLI lifeboat crews carry pagers 365 days a year, and are ready to respond at a moment's notice to save lives at sea - even if the conditions would make most folk turn back. Over the last 40 years, the number of call outs across the UK during the festive period has gone up by 500%.

If you, or anyone else, does get into trouble in (or on) the water then please call 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 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.

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