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RNLI Largs lifeboat launched to assist an aground vessel

Lifeguards News Release

The volunteer crew at Largs RNLI were requested to launch at 6:30pm on Saturday 28 January.

RNLI/Claire McRae

Largs Lifeboats latest Volunteer Helm, Gordon Kennedy

Shortly after being tasked, Largs RNLI's Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat R A Wilson was launched under the command of the station's latest qualified Helm, Gordon Kennedy, to assist a 19 foot Shetland motor vessel with 2 persons on board, aground off Hunterston Power Station.

Whilst making best speed to this location, further updates were provided by the UK Coastguard. They advised that the vessel had no vhf and had notified they were in distress by means of a 999 mobile phone call. They also had their navigation lights on and were in line with the main power station building.

Once on scene the vessel was found to be aground on an area known as Brigurd Spit, this is a large rocky section of coastline that dries out shortly after high water.

On assessment the Helm advised the UK Coastguard that he would try and approach the casualty vessel but due to the tide height and rocky seabed conditions was unsure if he would be able to get close enough to perform a rescue.

As the lifeboat crew were setting up search lights to illuminate the seabed members of Ardrossan and Largs Coastguard rescue teams were arriving at the area.

After 2 unsuccessful attempts, the lifeboat Helm contacted the local Coastguard units onshore to see if they could make it to the vessel from the beach allowing the Lifeboat to try another attempt from another direction.

Whilst the lifeboat was repositioning, a radio call from the Coastguard rescue team advised that they were now standing beside the vessel which was high and dry, both people on board were safe and well.

With this information the UK Coastguard asked if there was any further requirement for the lifeboat to be involved to which it was agreed that it wasn’t and could return to station.

Commenting on his first call out as Helm, Gordon Kennedy stated: 'On arrival at the boathouse the first thing I looked at was the current sea conditions, as it was calm with low wind speeds I knew I would feel comfortable with taking the boat out as Helm.

'Knowing the tide was ebbing, I knew speed of arrival would be paramount. As other crew were arriving I knew we were going to have a fully competent crew on board.

'Due to the location of the casualty vessel I came to the conclusion that rescue from the sea would not be viable, having the local Coastguard Rescue teams on scene allowed me to give them the ownership of the rescue and ensured the most suitable rescue was performed.

'Following this incident I would advise any water craft user to have a working VHF onboard as mobile phone coverage in certain areas of the Clyde can be compromised, also it is advisable to have up to date maritime charts or a working chart plotter on the vessel and understand drying out areas which can reduce the risk of their vessel going aground.'


Notes to editors

· Largs lifeboat station has been operating since 1964. To learn more about the lifeboat station go to:

RNLI media contacts

Brian Rankin, RNLI Largs Lifeboat Press Officer

Claire McRae, RNLI Largs Lifeboat Press Officer

Natasha Bennett, RNLI Regional Media Officer for Scotland, 07826 900639, [email protected]

Martin Macnamara, RNLI Regional Media Manager for Scotland, 07920 365929, [email protected]

RNLI Press Office, 01202 336789

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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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