Kyle lifeboat called out to disabled yacht in difficulty in gale force winds

Lifeboats News Release

Kyle lifeboat was called out at 6:03pm last night (6 November) after a yacht suffered engine failure and was dragging its anchor in extremely high winds near Eilean Donan Castle

RNLI/Andrew MacDonald

Kyle lifeboat

The lifeboat launched at 6:12pm after Stornoway Coastguard received a ‘Pan Pan’ urgent radio message from the lone sailor on board the disabled yacht. The vessel was trying to motor from Loch Duich to Kyleakin when its engine had failed. The sailor had managed to seek a little shelter from the worst of the wind in the bay of Totaig by the mouth of Loch Duich, however due to the weather, when the anchor was deployed it would not hold and began to drag towards the rocks.

The lifeboat made best possible speed through rough seas and arrived on scene at 6:30pm, where a crew member was put onboard the casualty vessel. It was then determined that the only safe outcome was to tow the vessel to the nearest safe harbour at Kyle of Lochalsh. The lifeboat crew established a tow and began the journey heading back into the weather, taking over 2 hours to get back to Kyle. However, on arrival in Kyle a combination of the worsening weather conditions and the large number of vessels seeking shelter in the port, it was decided that it was too dangerous to try and get the yacht alongside the pier. Therefore, the lifeboat towed the vessel the short distance to Kyleakin harbour, where the vessel was put alongside the pontoons and handed over to the waiting local UK Coastguard team.

Kyle lifeboat then returned to station and was refuelled and made ready for service at 10:15pm.

Speaking of the incident, a Kyle spokesperson said ‘The yacht had suffered mechanical failure, and with the gale force winds and very rough seas it was decided the only safe location to tow the casualty vessel to was Kyle or Kyleakin. However, this required the lifeboat to tow the 11-ton yacht through the extremely heavy seas which took over 2 hours. It is a timely reminder to all mariners to ensure they check the weather forecast carefully before setting out on a voyage to ensure they can reach their destination in plenty of time before bad weather comes in’.

Notes to editors

· Please credit the library picture to Kyle RNLI

· This is the 19th time the lifeboat has been called out in 2021

RNLI media contacts

Andrew MacDonald, RNLI volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer, 07748 707606 or

Martin Macnamara, Regional Media Officer (Scotland), 07920365929 or

Gemma McDonald, Regional Media Manager (Scotland), 07826 900639 or

RNLI Press Office on 01202 336789

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.