Four pager alerts make for a busy week at Tighnabruaich RNLI
Volunteer crew at RNLI Tighnabruaich had four alerts and a successful helm pass out in the space of six days making for the busiest week of the year. Crew were paged on Tuesday afternoon, again at 9.30pm that night, just after midnight in the early hours of Friday, and on Sunday afternoon.
The volunteer crew were alerted at 1.20pm on Tuesday 6 September and the inshore lifeboat was launched to assist a yacht in the Otter Ferry area of Loch Fyne. The James and Helen Mason arrived on scene and the crew ensured that all three on board the yacht were unharmed before assessing the best course of action to avoid any further danger to the yacht which had run aground on the south side of Otter Ferry spit.
It was agreed to deploy the yacht's anchor 50 meters or so into deeper water so that when the tide rose later in the afternoon, the yacht would safely re-float.
Tighnabruaich RNLI Lifeboat Helm, Ewan Sim reported the yacht's crew were "happy to wait, eating cake" until the tide turned in their favour. The lifeboat returned to the station and was made ready for next service.
The inshore lifeboat launched again around 7pm the same evening with a changed crew on a scheduled voyage. This time any hazards or incidents were created to test crew member Steve Wallis as part of his helm pass out assessment. Having passed the written exam, trainee Steve had this final hurdle to clear to qualify as helm - the helm takes the command role in any launch with responsibility for the crew and the vessel - and happily the outcome was successful!
Tighnabruaich Station Manager, Donald Clark said the success was “a great result for our station and increases our search and rescue capability. However, the evening was not quite over yet as, while Steve joined with RNLI crew and colleagues to mark his achievement and their support, the pagers went off again!"
The assembled crew returned to the station to prepare to launch for the third time in 8 hours however, instruction came from HM Coastguard in Belfast that the reported incident was in hand and the lifeboat no longer required. All crew were stood down.
At 12.18am on Friday morning the pagers brought crew out in a relatively strong easterly wind to assist a yacht drifting loose from its mooring and stranded on the West side of Bute. Arriving on scene, Rothesay Coastguard Rescue Team were in attendance and assisted the stricken vessel’s crew safely ashore, with the lifeboat standing by but unable to get closer due to shallow water.
The launch on Sunday 11 September took place as the Lifeboat station’s flag flew at half mast to mark the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Patron of the RNLI.
HM Coastguard tasked the inshore lifeboat to provide assistance to a solo sailor in the waters very close to the station where their yacht had fouled it’s propeller on a mooring pick-up buoy. It was decided that the safest option would be to cut the line to free the yacht and assist it to an adjacent mooring.
Tighnabruaich RNLI Helm, Steve Wallis on his first shout in the role said “the safest option was to discourage the vessel’s owner from attempting to free the prop themselves, and our crew provided contact details of a professional diver to complete the task.”
The lifeboat then returned to the station and was made ready for next service.
'In a coastal emergency, or if you see someone in trouble at sea, dial 999 and ask for the Coastguard'.
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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