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The Royal National Lifeboat Institution - Saves Lives at Sea



Kinghorn RNLI Lifeboat volunteers were called out on Friday after a yacht ended up adrift near Inchkeith Island.

It is understood that the yacht’s skipper was knocked over board when trying to lower his sails, and then spent 30 minutes swimming to Inchkeith Island where he flagged down a passing pilot boat. The casualty was taken to Burntisland harbour where the Coastguard was alerted; Kinghorn lifeboat was launched at 2:10pm to recover the yacht.

When the lifeboat arrived on scene around 2.20pm, the unmanned yacht was circling near Seal Carr rock, as the engine was still in gear. The sailing vessel soon ran aground on the north-west tip of Inchkeith Island. The volunteer crew had to board the yacht to stop its engine and lower the sails. The yacht was then towed back to Burntisland harbour where it was tied up for inspection.

Crewmember Mel McGarva said, ‘The yacht was circling when we first located it, but it very soon ended up aground with the engine running and the sails still up in a moderate west wind.

‘We managed to get a crew member on board and the sails were lowered and the yacht taken in tow to Burntisland, the nearest suitable harbour. We arrived at Burntisland around 4.20pm, in a force 4 to 5 westerly wind.

‘The yacht’s owner had a very lucky escape today, and if he wasn’t wearing a lifejacket he may not have survived. We would always recommend that lifejackets, with a suitable harness, are worn at sea and that you have survival equipment such as flares and a personal locator beacon. These are becoming much cheaper nowadays, and greatly enhance your chances of survival and being found, if you end up in the water.’

It is understood that the male sailor from the Dalgety Bay area was checked over by an ambulance at Burntisland, but was none the worse for his ordeal.

The RNLI has recently launched a campaign call ‘Respect The Water’. This is an initiative to reduce the number of drownings and fatalities by half by 2024. In 2013, 167 people lost their lives around the coast of the UK by drowning. Further information and guidance is available on the RNLI website.

The crew on this occasion were Joanne Wibberley, Kenny Davidson, Melanie McGarva, Suzanne Baillie and Steve Robinson.