News Articles

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution - Saves Lives at Sea



Kinghorn RNLI Lifeboat crewmembers took part in a more unusual ‘rescue’ today when they found an injured gannet whilst on exercise.

The volunteer lifeboat crew were on exercise when they spotted a gannet in a distressed state off Kinghorn Ness. The large white bird had a net bag caught around its neck and foot, and was unable to fly.

The gannet was recovered to the lifeboat where the crew removed the bag and checked it over. The gannet was then taken ashore where an officer from the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SSPCA) took the bird to a local care centre for a check-up.

Crewmember Thomas Wibberley, was on the lifeboat and continues with the story, ‘We were out on one of our weekly exercises when helmsman Billy McAndrew noticed that a gannet hadn’t flown away like normal when we passed. We turned round and saw that the gannet had a large red net bag on stuck round its neck and legs.

‘We went along side it and Billy managed to catch the bird from the boat, although he did get bitten once! We got the bird into the lifeboat where we removed the bag from the bird. The bird had some strength, but wasn’t flapping like it should so we took it back to the lifeboat station where we called the SSPCA.

‘The SSPCA quickly arrived and they agreed the bird was in good condition, but it was very weak. They took the bird away to treat it and hopefully get it back to full strength. On our way back ashore we named her Janet; hopefully we’ll see her flying past us again soon!

‘This was a more unusual task for us, but it was satisfying that we were able to help the bird as undoubtedly, it would otherwise not have survived.’

The gannet has been identified as an ‘amber’ list species by the UK’s leading bird conservation organisations. This means that its numbers have seen a decline, and are afforded greater conservation priority.

Kinghorn lifeboat station is manned entirely by volunteers, and the station has a busy summer ahead. Preparations are well underway for our open day on Saturday 7th July. The station also hopes to welcome (shout permitting) a Seaking rescue helicopter from HMS Gannet at Prestwick, to take part in a rescue demonstration involving the lifeboat and helicopter in Kinghorn Bay.