Islay RNLI pagers sound 3 times in 4 days

Lifeboats News Release

This week, week commencing July 31 2023, Islay’s volunteer RNLI crew have been requested to launch three times to separate incidents around Islay’s coast.


In the afternoon of Monday 31 July, at 4pm, the pagers sounded to a paddleboarder drifting 200metres off the coast of Port Charlotte in Loch Indaal. Fortunately, the paddleboarder was picked up by a local yacht and taken to back to shore where they were met by the local Coastguard team. The lifeboat crew had assembled and were about to leave Port Askaig when they were stood down after confirmation the young paddleboarder was uninjured and had been taken to safety.

The next day, Tuesday, 01 August at 6.01am, Islay RNLI were tasked by the UK Coastguard to a 63m cargo ship that had run aground south of the Isle of Jura earlier that morning. Although the ship was afloat by this time an escort was requested by the Coastguard up to Corpach, Fort William. The vessel was at a higher risk of requiring assistance due to potential damage caused by the earlier grounding. Oban RNLI were also tasked and working alongside Islay RNLI the took over the escort 12:21pm just west of the Garvellachs.

While escorting the cargo ship Islay RNLI were contacted by a nearby vessel to retrieve an inflated life raft seen in the water off Colonsay. The life raft was empty, and it transpired had been lost off a local vessel the previous day. Once confirmed with the Coastguard this was the same raft, Islay RNLI took it onboard and continued the escort.

After an early start, it was a long journey for Islay’s crew returning to Port Askaig seven hours later at 1.00pm to refuel and ready the lifeboat for service.

Two days later, Thursday 03 August at 1:04pm, Islay volunteer crew were requested to launch to a fishing vessel that had suffered engine failure. Oban RNLI had been tasked to launch to the vessel approximately half an hour earlier when the position was believed to be farther north, in Oban’s operational area. Later, updated information of the vessel’s location from a RAF maritime surveillance aircraft operating in the area, put the vessel south-west of Dubh Artach lighthouse, into Islay RNLI’s area. After assessment by all parties Oban was deemed as the most safe and suitable port for recovery. With Oban RNLI already underway the Coastguard confirmed Oban should continue while Islay’s crew remained on stand-by to cover the southern part of Oban’s area, should they be needed.

Islay RNLI would like to thank the local vessels and Coastguard teams who assisted in these call-outs, especially to Oban RNLI whose crew had two long shouts in quick succession.

If you see somebody in trouble on the water or along the coast or think that they are in trouble, use marine VHF Ch 16 or dial 999 or 112 and ask for the Coastguard.

RNLI/Stephen Lawson

Oban RNLI escorting the cargo ship to Corpach

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