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Islay RNLI launch five times in 10 days

Lifeboats News Release

Islay’s RNLI lifeboat crew have had a busy start the summer holidays with five launches of the Severn all-weather lifeboat in just 10 days to those in trouble at sea.


Islay RNLI crew after returning back to Port Askaig

On Thursday 29th June at 3:40pm the lifeboat launched to a yacht adrift off the west of Islay with winds and tide taking them towards the coast. The decision was made to tow the yacht and three crew back to the nearest safe and suitable port, Port Askaig.

The crew pagers sounded again on Monday 3rd July at 7:25pm with a request to launch to a yacht aground in the Sound of Islay. The tide was falling and so time was of the essence for the lifeboat to safely tow them off the dangerous reef, Black Rocks. The lifeboat reached the yacht in good time and towed them back to safety in Port Askaig where the Islay Coastguard were on-scene to assist with mooring the yacht.

At 5:28pm on Thursday 6th the UK Coastguard requested that the lifeboat launch to a yacht spotted one mile off Jura. In heavy rain and with winds picking up the lifeboat made good speed to the casualty vessel. It had a jammed head sail and was unable to steady in the rough seas and high winds. The lifeboat escorted the yacht back to Port Askaig under her own steam and the lifeboat was made ready again for service.

On the fourth call-out, on Saturday 08 July at 9.38pm, the UK Coastguard requested that Islay’s volunteer crew launch to a yacht without power. It had a damaged main sail and was three miles off the south coast of Islay. Arriving on scene, the yacht had managed to navigate towards Port Ellen and so the lifeboat was on hand to assist and escort them into Port Ellen pontoon. The lifeboat returned to Port Askaig and was ready for service again by 12:10am.

On Sunday 09 July at 2:33pm the lifeboat was requested to launch for a fifth time, to a paddleboarder in distress off Kilberry Bay. With six lifeboat crew on board the RNLI charity’s all-weather lifeboat launched from Port Askaig but was stood down by 2:51pm and returned to base. A nearby vessel was able to assist in the emergency. The lifeboat returned to her moorings and was made ready again for service.

Islay RNLI Coxswain David MacLellan said: ‘It has been a particularly busy time for our volunteer crew who have been quick to respond to their pagers. I am particularly thankful to their families who have had disruptions to the start of their summer holidays.’

He added: ‘No one ever expects to have to call the RNLI but we are always prepared to launch; 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. We would encourage those going out to enjoy the water this summer to please check your vessel is seaworthy and carefully plan your journey. Check the weather forecast, wear an appropriate personal floatation device and carry a waterproofed means of calling for help, such as a mobile phone in a waterproof pouch. In any coastal emergency, dial 999 and ask for the Coastguard.’

You can find lots of helpful tips and information on staying safe in the water at From fishing to open water swimming; paddle boarding to coastal walking, there's useful information for even the most seasoned sea-farer.


Islay RNLI launch to a yacht in distress

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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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.