Double rescue day for RNLI Kessock lifeboat
The RNLI lifeboat and volunteer crew launched twice yesterday (Thursday 3 September) in reponse to emergency taskings from HM Coastguard in Aberdeen.
The first involved an extensive search following the report of an aircraft distress beacon in the Moray Firth and the second to the assistance of a yacht in difficulty in the Beauly Firth. The first pager went at 11.34am to reports of an aircraft Emergency Locator Transmitter west of Inverness Airport. Following Covid-19 protocols the available crew assembled and quickly launched the charity lifeboat in choppy conditions of force 4/5 sea state. Alongside HM Coastguard - Highland Rescue teams, and the Inverness Rescue 151 helicopter, the volunteer crew conducted a thorough search heading SW back towards Inverness.
Volunteer Crewmember and Helm Jonathan Ashburner said, “We executed a lengthy parallel track search over two hours alongside our Search and Rescue helicopter partners at Inverness Rescue 151, but with no evidence of any casualty or emergency we were stood down by the Coastguard and returned to the station to be made ready for service. The crew were as ever vigilant and prepared to be on scene for as long as was necessary.”
The Kessock crew’s second emergency response of the day came a few hours later at 4.12pm to reports related via HM Coastguard of a yacht dragging its anchor opposite Kessock Pier. The volunteer crew were paged and selected including two members from the day’s earlier shout. The yacht had been ably sailed from Sweden by a single crewman but the worsening weather conditions in the Beauly Firth had left the vessel in some difficulty.
Helmsman and volunteer crewmember Doug Grant said, “With a rapidly rising spring tide and freshening winds we advised the yachtsman to take our assistance to safe harbour in the marina for the night. I placed one crew member on board to recover the anchor which took considerable physical determination as it had been dragging for some time. The gentleman was very appreciative of our swift and friendly assistance, and the crew performed seamlessly which is a credit to their professionalism, particularly given the challenges faced by Covid-19 in recent months. He added, “This was also another example of excellent teamwork with our SAR partners at HM Coastguard which resulted in a smooth and successful outcome.”
The “Robert and Isobel Mowat” returned to the station to be cleaned and refuelled ready for the next service.
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.