NO REST FOR VOLUNTEER CREW!
Despite having been called out after the reports of a flare around 10.15pm on Saturday night,(15/01/2005) the RNLI lifeboat crew at Kinghorn, were unable to get a good nights sleep.
The crew had been searching an area off Silverknowes in Edinburgh, where a spent flare cartridge was eventually found on shore by Coastguard personnel, proving that a hoaxer had caused the crew to be down the boathouse till after midnight clearing up after the call.
The volunteer crew had only arrived back at home for a short while and just as they were dropping off to sleep, the pagers alerted them to yet another 'shout'. Around 1.20am on Sunday morning, less than an hour after they had managed to return home, the lifeboat crew and shore crew, who all reside in the village, had to get dressed and rush down to the station for their next callout.
Although early morning and bleary eyed, the crew still managed to achieve their outstanding record of launching within a few minutes of the pagers being activated, this time they were heading east along the coast to the Methil/Leven area, where a woman had been reported as missing and fears were high that she was in the sea in that area.
The search was conducted by the RNLI lifeboat along with Coastguard search teams and the local Police. The RNLI lifeboat made an extensive search of the dark waters in very cold conditions, but failed to find any trace of the woman. The Police then informed the crew that they had located the woman safe and well in the Leven area and they were able to start heading back home for a warm cuppa.
The crew which consisted of helmsman Scott McIlravie with crew members Darren Maddison, Neil Chalmers and Phil Smythe recovered the lifeboat back to Kinghorn at 2.55am with the help of the shore crew of Ian McLean and Joanne Wibberly.
It was nearer to 4am in the morning before all the cleaning, checking and refuelling of the lifeboat, which must take place after every call, had been carried out and the volunteers could make their way home again to their beds, hoping that the pagers would not be activated again that night.
Although only 15 days into the new year with 350 to go, the RNLI lifeboat at Kinghorn has already been called out three times. Given that January is one of the quietest months for the crew, the scene is being set to continue this year as has been the norm over the past few years, that of having 50 or more call outs per year for one of the busiest lifeboats in the RNLI.