Capsized Kayaker in Firth of Forth Rescued by Queensferry RNLI

Lifeboats News Release

The volunteer crew from Queensferry RNLI Lifeboat Station rescued a capsized kayaker who had become extremely cold and tired whilst attempting to self-rescue, 500m north of Cramond Island, Sunday 24 April.

The RNLI Volunteers had a joint training exercise with Kinghorn RNLI prematurely ended that afternoon due to the UK Coastguard Helicopter they were with being called away for an emergency. On returning from the training briefing, the walk became a sprint as the call was transmitted on the handheld VHF radio of a kayaker in difficulty.

At 3.00pm a bystander spotted the kayaker from land. The bystander dialled 999 to raise the alarm with the UK Coastguard, who sent a request for help to the Queensferry RNLI inshore lifeboat Jimmie Cairncross. The charity’s lifeboat arrived on scene with the casualty at 3.20pm.

Weather conditions at the time were overcast with a large swell and rough seas.

The lifeboat was able to locate the kayaker quickly as they had stayed with their kayak and raised a paddle in the air to attract the attention of the volunteer crew.

Two crew members pulled the extremely tired and visibly cold casualty onboard. A third crew member managed the kayak to reduce the risk of it impeding the lifeboat’s engines. The casualty was immediately rushed to Granton harbour, being constantly assessed en route, and given aids to protect them from further cold exposure. On arrival at Granton Harbour, the casualty was able with assistance to disembark the lifeboat into the care of UK Coastguard until the Scottish Ambulance Service arrived.

Kinghorn RNLI were requested to retrieved the kayak and paddle, then proceeded to meet UK Coastguard personnel at Granton Harbour.

Mike, Queensferry RNLI Helm, said: ‘Although the kayaker was extremely cold and tired, they managed to stay with the kayak and hold their paddle up in the air which in no doubt helped us find them quickly. They were also wearing a PFD (Personal Flotation Device). When we reached the casualty, they were unsure how long they had been in the water for, their training and equipment played a massive part in the outcome of this rescue.’

Adrian, Queensferry RNLI Deputy Launch Authority, said: ‘The bystander did the right thing in calling 999 and asking the UK Coastguard for help.’

The RNLI volunteers washed down the Jimmie Cairncross and refuelled it to ensure the charity’s lifeboat was ready for the next emergency.


Video credit

The attached video shows Queensferry RNLI inshore lifeboat Jimmie Cairncross and the volunteer crew rescue the capsized kayaker (Sunday 24 April) Credit RNLI/Queensferry Lifeboat Station.

Photo credit

The attached photo shows Queensferry RNLI inshore lifeboat Jimmie Cairncross and the volunteer crew at the scene 500m north of Cramond Island (Sunday 24 April) Credit RNLI/Queensferry Lifeboat Station.

Notes to editor

The RNLI is the Royal National Lifeboat Institution.

Queensferry RNLI is based on the Hawes Pier, Queensferry EH30 9TB. The lifeboat station was founded in 1967 and the volunteer crew use an inshore Atlantic 85 B-Class lifeboat Jimmie Cairncross.

RNLI media contacts

For further information, please contact:

Julie Dominguez, Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer for lifeboat station RNLI on email [email protected]

Martin Macnamara, Regional Media Manager (Scotland), on 07920 365929 or [email protected]

RNLI Press Office 01202 336789 or [email protected]

The Queensferry RNLI lifeboat is on scene, two volunteer crew are bringing the casualty on board, one volunteer crew is managing the kayak, one crew member is helming the lifeboat.


Queensferry RNLI Lifeboat rescues capsized kayaker from Firth of Forth

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.