The reality of Christmas on call for Portpatrick RNLI volunteers

Lifeboats News Release

This Christmas and New Year RNLI crews across Scotland will be on call 24 hours a day ready to save lives at sea.

Towing line affixed to motor yacht from lifeboat

RNLI/Jeanette Hardy

Portpatrick RNLI assist recovery of stricken motor yacht from shipping lane

On Saturday 17 December 2023, the crew at Portpatrick Lifeboat station were preparing for their first crew Christmas dinner for 3 years when their pagers went off.


Tasked by HM Coastguard Belfast, Portpatrick Tamar class all weather lifeboat John Buchanan Barr was launched at 1.56pm to assist Stranraer RNLI Lifeboat in the recovery of a 44ft motor cruiser that had lost engine power and was drifting in the shipping lane at the north of Loch Ryan. Also in attendance were HM Coastguard crews from Stranraer and Portpatrick.


Stranraer RNLI had assessed the situation and attached a tow to the stricken vessel to convey them into safer water until the arrival of Portpatrick Lifeboat. Upon arrival at the scene and following a further assessment Portpatrick took over the tow at 2:53pm and the vessel was taken to Stranraer Harbour where it was berthed with the assistance of HM Coastguard Stranraer at 4:30pm.


The John Buchanan Barr then returned to Portpatrick harbour at 5:50pm where it was refuelled and made ready for service.


Andy Ross, RNLI volunteer coxswain, on this shout said: ‘The Portpatrick RNLI volunteer crew swiftly responded to the pager and we launched with a full crew of 7. Luckily, the conditions were moderate with a fresh breeze of force 4 -5. Stranraer RNLI had control of the incident and had conveyed the vessel to safer waters. Upon arrival at the scene and following an assessment of the situation we took control of the tow and were able to convey the vessel safely into Stranraer. Upon return to Portpatrick the lifeboat was refuelled and made ready for service and I am very happy to say, the crew were able to enjoy their Christmas dinner without any further calls’.


Volunteer crews across Scotland will be on call and ready to save lives at sea this Christmas. Over the past five Christmases RNLI lifeboats in Scotland have launched 100 times, coming to the aid of 51 people and have saved three lives. It’s public support that allows the RNLI to continue to save lives at sea and our volunteers need your support this Christmas.


To make a donation to the RNLI’s Christmas Appeal visit

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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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