Three call outs in 24 hours for Oban RNLI

Lifeboats News Release

It was a busy Sunday (12 September) for the volunteers of Oban RNLI as they spent over 7 hours at sea, launching to three separate call outs.

RNLI/Leonie Mead

Oban lifeboat was first requested to launch at 8.15am on Sunday morning to reports of a swimmer in difficulty at the Corran Narrows. Thankfully the swimmer, who was part of a group, was able to make it ashore unaided and so the lifeboat was stood down, returning to station shortly after 9am.

The second call came at 10pm, as concern had been raised for a fishing boat with one person onboard that hadn’t arrived at its destination. The vessel had departed Dunstaffnage marina earlier in the day but was overdue and it was understood that the vessel had limited means of calling for help onboard.

The lifeboat proceeded to the area and whilst beginning a search, it was confirmed that the vessel had been found safe and well. The lifeboat returned to station and was ready for service again by 11.35pm.

As the volunteers of Oban lifeboat returned to their beds, it wasn’t long before they were woken by the sound of their pagers again. At 3.15am, they were tasked to assist a yacht aground in the popular anchorage of Puilladobhrain, at the north end of Seil island.

The lifeboat launched on service and arrived on scene to find the yacht, with 4 persons onboard, well aground and heavily listing. The volunteer crew launched their daughter craft, known as the ‘XP boat’ and two crew members made their way over to assess the situation.

As the tide was still dropping, the decision was made to transfer 3 of the yacht’s crew to the lifeboat. The yacht’s skipper stayed on board while the lifeboat returned to Oban, to transfer the 3 persons ashore and wait for the tide to rise. They arrived back in Oban by 5.15am.

The lifeboat then relaunched at 6.30am to assist in refloating the vessel. Arriving back on scene by 7am, two crew members proceeded over to the yacht and assisted the skipper in lifting the vessel’s anchor. Although the tide was rising, the confined anchorage was busy with other vessels and there was concern for any damage sustained that may limit the casualty vessel’s ability to manoeuvre once refloated. The lifeboat assisted with by attaching a tow to the vessel, clearing it of the rocks and the other boat users close by.

The vessel was then able to check its own steering and propulsion and with no damage sustained, the remaining 3 persons were transferred back onboard and the yacht was able to carry on to Oban unassisted.

The two crew members returned onboard the lifeboat and the volunteer crew proceeded back to their berth in Oban. The lifeboat was made ready for service again by 9am, 6 hours after initially launching.

This busy spell also marked the 400th call out of the station’s full time mechanic Tom Kennedy, since joining the lifesaving charity back in 2003. Tom, who’s responsible for the safe running of the lifeboat and the equipment she carries on board, first served at Largs and Troon RNLI before joining Oban RNLI in 2016.

RNLI/Leonie Mead

Oban RNLI’s full time mechanic, Tom Kennedy

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.

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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.