ANOTHER LAUNCH AND YET ANOTHER RECORD YEAR FOR LIFEBOAT!
The RNLI lifeboat at Kinghorn was launched today (31/12/06) on its 58th shout of the year!
The callout came at 2.10pm on the last day of the year and in some of the worst weather conditions to have faced the volunteer crews this year. The crew were alerted after a jet skier was reported to be in trouble, in the choppy Firth, about 400yards off Portabello Beach.
The volunteers quickly launched the lifeboat into the force 7 winds which were whipping up waves of two metres in height, throughout their journey across the Firth of Forth.
Helmsman Billy McAndrew said, "The initial report we received from the Coastguard was of a man on a Jet Ski having suffered engine failure and being washed out from the shore in the strong prevailing wind. We launched the lifeboat into some of the biggest waves we have seen this year, and had travelled past Inchkeith and were about two miles from the casualty, when we were advised that he had made it ashore safely, and were asked to return to base. This was a very rough crossing! The wind was against us and the waves were almost continuously two metres in height, which made for a very uncomfortable ride in the 7.5 metre Atlantic 75 inflatable rib lifeboat. When we returned to Kinghorn the waves were so large that they prevented us from recovering the boat in the normal fashion and we were forced to carry out a 'Net Recovery' in which the front of the lifeboat is driven forward into a net which catches it and prevents it from continuing over the top of the tractor when caught in a monster wave. Although we were only out for around half an hour it certainly felt a lot longer and I hope I get the chance to sooth out some of the aches in a bath before we get another shout!"
The other crew on this occasion were Rob Moore and Mike Chalmers, on shore were Evelyn Stoker and Ian McLean.
The volunteers are available 365 days of the year and regularly receive callouts during the festive period. This is a new record number of callouts for the RNLI lifeboat at Kinghorn, and last year was the busiest inshore lifeboat in Scotland.