Back to back shouts for RNLI Kessock to start 2021
The volunteer crew at RNLI Kessock saw a busy start to the New Year with two consecutive shouts on Saturday 2nd January.
HM Coastguard in Aberdeen alerted the station at Kessock of an ongoing Police Scotland incident involving a person in difficulty near the water at nearby Avoch. The crew were paged at 8.05pm and a crew of four volunteers launched soon after to conduct a shoreline search between Avoch Harbour and Fortrose. Sea state was flat calm with a high tide and almost full moonlight creating good search conditions. Helicopter Rescue 151 and Coastguard Teams from Inverness, Nairn and Cromarty were also in attendance.
After a thorough search, and in close liaison with SAR partners, the Kessock Lifeboat was stood down at approx. 10.30pm once the casualty was safely in the hands of the services onshore. The boat and crew returned to the station to be made ready for service and for the crew to warm up.
No sooner was the boat refuelled than the same RNLI crew were tasked again at 11.00pm to a separate incident: a high risk missing person on the Inverness side of the Firth. Two of the previous crew (the Helm and a casualty carer) returned to the boat with two standby crew assuming positions, allowing the previous two boat crew to act as shore crew to launch the lifeboat once again. This was also a first shout for one of the Kessock new trainees who started training in September 2020.
RNLI Helm Tom Booth said, “After a quiet Christmas and Hogmanay duty period this Saturday evening goes to show that the pager can, and does, go off at any moment. We had a great response from our volunteer crew with a full attendance over and above minimum crewing levels.”
He continued, “With the continuing Covid restrictions we try to keep interaction to a minimum while maintaining the health and safety of our crew. Both shouts were well executed and I was impressed with the crew’s willingness to attend and to head out for a second time in such cold temperatures.”
The Robert and Isobel Mowat was on scene within minutes to conduct a search from Clachnaharry sea lock back towards the Kessock Bridge. Conditions remained clear but freezing. The casualty was located on shore by Police and attending Coastguard teams and the RNLI crew returned to Kessock lifeboat station once more. By 12.30am the boat was washed down, refuelled and available 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.