News Articles

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution - Saves Lives at Sea

News Articles

      SAILING CLUB CAUGHT OUT BY ROUGH SEAS (27/08/2006) more...
        The RNLI lifeboat at Kinghorn was launched this afternoon (27/08/2006) after 3 Dinghy's capsized off Pettycur, in rough seas.

        Despite it being a fine day, the wind had been blowing up some very choppy 1 metre high swells, in the unsheltered areas of the Forth, and was coupled with a high tide with strong currents. The 39th callout for the volunteer crew this year, started early afternoon when Kinghorn Sailing Club had several dinghy's in the protected waters of Kinghorn bay.

        About 1.40pm, 3 of the crews ventured further afield towards Pettycur, and were unprepared for the rougher sea conditions outwith the shelter of the bay. All 3 crews were unable to control their vessels in the rough sea swells and all capsized. Although the clubs emergency boat was nearby, it was unable to deal with the 3 overturned dinghy's and sent out a distress flare, which sent a flurry of emergency calls to the coastguard, who requested the RNLI lifeboat be launched.

        Scott McIlravie, Helmsman on the RNLI lifeboat said, "The clubs emergency rib was able to rescue the crews from the water, but were unable to deal with the upturned dinghy's. We arrived on scene within minutes and were able to right the vessels and take two back under tow to Kinghorn Harbour with the rescue boat returning to recover the third."

        "Although the weather was fine and sunny in the shelter of the bay, the wind was fairly strong and once you get out from the sheltered area of the bay, the change in the sea conditions can be dramatic, and can catch out the inexperienced sailor."

        "Thankfully everyone was rescued from the water and I think some lessons have been learned."

        The RNLI crew with Scott, were Neil Chalmers, Joanne Wibberly and Leanne Fisher.

        Attached Jpgs taken by the crew on the shout, show the RNLI crew rescuing the capsized vessels.

      SUPERMUM RETURNS (31/07/2006) more...
        Supermum Judith Frame, a volunteer tractor driver with the RNLI lifeboat at Kinghorn, has created a new swimming record and raised more than £1600 for the RNLI charity in the process.

        Judith (41), a mother of three, lives in the village and works in the Ship Tavern. The swimming record was created as part of the Lifeboat's annual Open Day celebrations, which this year raised over £5000 of which Judith raised £1622, with still more sponsorship being handed in daily. Judith decided to try to swim from Inchkeith Island to the shore as part of the Open Day events, and by doing so she created the first officially timed swim From Inchkeith Island to Kinghorn and took 1hr 46 mins to complete the swim.

        Judith said of the venture, "When we were deciding on what sort of events to hold this year, I stupidly had a brainstorm and thought I could swim from Inchkeith to Kinghorn and hopefully raise some sponsorship money. I then began to realise the enormity of the task and amount of training I would have to do to carry it out, as I hadn't done anything like that before."

        "I had to undertake months of training, both swimming and exercise to get myself in condition to give the swim a good attempt, I didn't want to let anyone down once I had decided to do it, but there were times when I was swimming in the freezing cold water that I thought to myself, ' what am I doing here?'. I couldn't have done it without the assistance given to me both monetary and other help by the Ship Tavern where I work. In between caring for the kids, working at the pub and running down to launch the lifeboat when needed, I did manage to get my training regime set up and carry it through."

        "I was over the moon when I completed the swim and arrived on the beach to a warm welcome from everyone. I would like to thank everyone who supported me on this swim and for being so generous with their donations, my coach Allison and fund raiser Dave for all they have done."

        As well as watching the swim, visitors to the lifeboat station saw the lifeboat in action with a Helicopter, and enjoyed all the stalls and events that were held on a glorious day. Look out for next years Open Day!

        Attached jpegs show Judith arriving on Kinghorn Beach and being supported by family and friends after the swim. Pictures courtesy of Dave MacGregor.

      TWENTY YEARS OF RESCUE SERVICE (28/07/2006) more...
        Mike McErlane, a Helmsman on the RNLI's lifeboat at Kinghorn, has been awarded a long service medal for 20 years of voluntary service with the RNLI.

        Mike, (37) a Marine Contractor with BP at Houndpoint Oil terminal, started as a volunteer with the RNLI at Kinghorn, when he was 17, way back in 1986. Since becoming a volunteer, Mike has been promoted to the position of Helmsman (in charge of the boat and crew during a shout). Mike lives in the village with his wife Katy, and they are expecting their first child at the end of the year.

        During his service with the RNLI Lifeboat, Mike has rescued many people , vessels and animals and has been given several bravery awards. Mike recalled some of his experiences during the past 20 years," It was certainly very different when I first started as a trainee, even the type of lifeboat we had then, was so inferior to the Atlantic 75 we use at the moment. We were housed in a 'shed' which used to fill up when the tide was high! Now we have a purpose built boathouse which has a warm room where the drysuits hang, which makes it more comfortable,especially on a winters night. We also have an operations room which makes our training far more professional."

        Mike, who admits to not being able to swim too well, continued,"Some of the worst shouts which stick in my mind include the plane crash off Granton, the sinking of the fishing boat Amber and the many bodies we have been tasked to recover. However the highlights include every time we manage to save a life, like the mother and father who had been taken out in their son's new boat for fathers day, but unfortunately it sank. They were so happy when we pulled them on board. Saving lots of schoolkids when the maid of the Forth when aground on Inchcolm, however some had to be rescued by helicopter and when we asked which ones would want that, they ALL put their hands up! I also remember saving a dog which was washed off the Esplanade in Kirkcaldy during a Links Market and was washed out to sea, the dog only managed to keep afloat due to all the fur and was struggling to survive when we arrived and pulled it out, once we lifted it on board it shook itself, wagged its tail and laid its head on my lap all the way back into shore,"

        Mike was lucky enough to get the very last 'shout' on the old 'C' class lifeboat and the very first on the new Atlantic 75.

        The picture shows Mike surrounded by his crew being presented with his medal by RNLI Kinghorn Operations Manager Charlie Tulloch.

      LIFEBOAT RESCUES RESCUER (27/07/2006) more...
        The RNLI lifeboat at Kinghorn was launched this evening to a report of persons in the water off Granton in Edinburgh.

        The volunteer crew were paged by the Coastguard at 8.10pm on Thursday (27/07/06) after distress calls were received by the Coastguard reporting persons in the water off the middle pier at Granton Harbour. The Lifeboat arrived on scene around 8.20pm, and were informed that Police had recovered a woman from the water, but they had arrived fast enough to rescue a woman in her 30's who was still in the Forth.

        Mike McErlane Helmsman on the RNLI Lifeboat,said "When we arrived we could see Police and Ambulance on the shore and there appeared to be several people milling about. We saw that there was still one lady in the water and we pulled her onto the lifeboat. She told us that a woman had apparently jumped or fallen into the water from the pier, when she and her two teenage sons were there. She and her two sons had jumped into the water to effect a rescue, and Police assisted in pulling the female from the water."

        "The woman's two sons managed to get out of the water under their own steam, but the mother was still trying to get out when we arrived and pulled her out. We handed her over to paramedics on the shore who wrapped her in blankets and took her to the waiting Ambulance.She and her sons were very brave, the water is still very cold even at this time of year, even during a heatwave. Thankfully everyone was saved on this occasion."

        The crew on this callout were Mike McErlane, Steve Currie, Michael Chalmers and Ian McLean on the tractor.

        The RNLI lifeboat at Kinghorn was launched this evening to a Speedboat in distress at the Long Craigs rocks just off Seafield, Kirkcaldy.

        The volunteer crew were paged by the Coastguard at 8.40pm on Friday (21/07/06) after a distress call was received from the stricken speedboat, which had a middle aged man and woman on board and which had struck the rocks near the shore and damaged the propellor. The occupants were desperately trying to paddle the vessel into the park area at Seafield where several concerned members of the public had called the Coastguard.

        The RNLI lifeboat arrived on scene within a few minutes and were able to rescue the vessel and bring it under tow into Kirkcaldy Harbour.

        The crew on this occasion were Steve Currie, Phil Smythe and Neil Chalmers. shore crew Ian McLean

      RNLI KINGHORN LIFEBOAT - OPEN DAY (06/07/2006) more...
        The RNLI's busiest Inshore Lifeboat in Scotland, Kinghorn Lifeboat which covers both Edinburgh and Fife sides of the Forth, are holding an Open Day on Saturday 15th July, 2006 between 12.30pm and 4pm.

        "This year's annual Open Day will take place during the afternoon of Saturday, 15th July," explained Charlie Tulloch, Kinghorn Lifeboats' Operations Manager, "and we hope that as many people as possible will come along on what promises to be a very special and enjoyable day.".

        The crews are hoping for an all-time high number of visitors when they open their doors to the public this year, as the event was not held last year due to G8 affecting everyone. This is the major fund-raising event of the year for Kinghorn and the busy station will play host to visitors of all ages, wishing to see the historic lifeboat up close and to meet the crew, men and women, who have already responded to 24 rescue calls this year.

        "We always look forward to our annual Open Day," Charlie continued, "when we can show off the 'Frederick Robertson', our 24 ft long, Atlantic 75 rescue craft, the fastest in the RNLI fleet and capable of up to 34 knots. It allows people to see our boat, speak with the crews and have some good old fashioned fun and games."

        "On 15th July the boat will be just one of the attractions on display, however," he added, "with a host of other activities, such as one of our volunteer shore crew, Judith Frame, undertaking a sponsored swim from Inchkeith Island to the shore at the boathouse, there will also be a tug of war held between two boats instead of on land, a Helicopter rescue display, Static displays by the emergency services, stalls and fun for everyone being laid on throughout the afternoon at the Lifeboat Station and adjacent beach area."

        The RNLI operates more than 320 lifeboats throughout the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland, launching on average 21 times and saving 2 lives every day of the year.

        Many of the rescues involve people visiting the coast from inland, often ordinary people caught out by a change in the weather or an extra high tide, with nearly 2000 rescues last year also involving people in distress who were not on board a vessel of any kind but who had been cut off by high water, were swimmers, divers and others who had fallen off cliffs and piers.

      ANOTHER SUNDAY- ANOTHER DOUBLE RESCUE! (25/06/2006) more...
        The fine weather has sparked off the usual spate of callouts for the volunteers of Scotland's busiest RNLI Inshore Lifeboat. RNLI Kinghorn lifeboat had a record 57 rescue missions last year, and look likely to achieve that figure again this year.

        The first rescue of the day, and the 23rd of the year, started for the volunteer crew with their pagers being activated at 8.45am (25/06/06). The crew were tasked by the Coastguard to assist the 35 foot fishing vessel, 'The Marrie Bay' which had suffered engine failure, brought about by a burst fuel pipe, leading to an airlocked fuel pump. The boat was drifting north east of Inchkeith Island and had 3 men on board, aged 30-40 years from the Edinburgh area.

        The crew of Helmsman Paul Wibberly, Steve Currie, Mike Chalmers and Phil Smythe, arrived on scene within ten minutes and attached a tow rope to the stricken vessel and towed it safely to its home harbour at Newhaven.

        The second rescue (24th) began with the pagers being activated again at 2.45pm. This time the volunteer crew were sent to Kirkcaldy Bay to assist a 22 foot rib (inflatable) which had suffered gearbox failure whilst on a trip from its home port of Granton, Edinburgh. The rib had 6 persons on board, 3 men and 3 women all in their early 30's, and was drifting in the bay without power.

        The lifeboat arrived within 10 minutes of being launched and found the boat to be drifting 2 miles south east of West Wemyss, although all on board were sensibly wearing lifejackets, the 3 women were transferred to the lifeboat for the tow back into Dysart Harbour for safety.

        Helmsman Paul Wibberly said, " Its been a fairly busy day for us, normally we have training arranged on a Sunday, but we had to fit that in between real shouts today! Both rescues were straightforward tows, carried out in good weather which makes a nice change. When we towed the rib from Granton Harbour into Dysart Harbour, the crew received a 'friendly' welcome, not so much a welcome as a question...How long are ye gonnae be here?..Still its not often we get to carry 3 young ladies on the it was a bonus."

        Kinghorn Lifeboat will be holding its annual Open Day on Saturday 15th July, 1230 - 4pm, where the Public will get a chance to see the RNLI lifeboat close up and also in action, along with lots of fun and games and chances to win some stunning prizes.

        1. The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is a charity that provides a lifesaving service sea (up to 100 nautical miles) 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
        2. As a charity the RNLI relies on public donations to help train and equip its volunteer lifeboat crews helping them to continue to save lives at sea, safely and effectively.
        3. Without the commitment and dedication of volunteers the RNLI's role of saving lives at sea would be impossible.

        (Attached jpegs show RNLI Kinghorn Lifeboat crew towing the stricken vessel Marrie Bay, with Steve Currie on the Helm, Mike Chalmers on the side and Phil Smythe on board the fishing boat, the other jpegs show the 3 women from the second incident aboard Kinghorn Lifeboat with Helmsman Paul Wibberly at the helm, towing the disabled rib.)

      32FT FISHING VESSEL RESCUED. (22/06/2006) more...
        The arrival of the Summer weather has sparked off the usual spate of callouts for the volunteers of Scotland's busiest RNLI Inshore Lifeboat. RNLI Kinghorn lifeboat had a record 57 rescue missions last year, and look likely to achieve that figure again this year.

        The 22nd launch of the year for the lifeboat, happened around 11.30am, today, (22/06/06) after the Coastguard received a mayday from the 32ft fishing vessel "Margaret Jane", which was half a mile west of Inchkeith Island and had suffered an engine failure.

        In a strong south westerly wind, blowing up the sea into a moderate to rough swell, the RNLI lifeboat was launched and arrived on scene within 10 minutes to help the stricken vessel . The volunteer crew of Helmsmen Paul Wibberly and Mike McErlane along with trainee crew member Mark Brown, quickly assessed the situation and brought the vessel under tow.

        Helmsman Mike McErlane said, "Our pagers were activated by the Coastguard around 11.30am and by 1140am we were drawing alongside the drifting boat, which had two elderly occupants in their 70's on board. The sea had quite a big swell, especially in the middle of the Forth, as the waves were being built by the strong south westerly winds. When their engine had failed, rather than try to sort it, the crew sensibly, given the conditions, decided to notify the coastguard as their boat was drifting and being blown towards Inchkeith Island and the surrounding rocks by the strong wind. On arrival we set up a tow line and towed the vessel back into its home port at Dysart."

        Kinghorn Lifeboat will be holding its annual Open Day on Saturday 15th July, 1230 - 4pm, where you will get a chance to see the RNLI lifeboat close up and also in action, along with lots of fun and games and chances to win some stunning prizes.

        1. The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is a charity that provides a lifesaving service sea (up to 100 nautical miles) 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
        2. As a charity the RNLI relies on public donations to help train and equip its volunteer lifeboat crews helping them to continue to save lives at sea, safely and effectively.
        3. Without the commitment and dedication of volunteers the RNLI's role of saving lives at sea would be impossible.
        4. RNLI website -

        The arrival of the Spring holiday has sparked off the usual spate of callouts for the volunteers of Scotland's busiest RNLI Inshore Lifeboat. RNLI Kinghorn lifeboat had a record 57 rescue missions last year. Five Lives were saved in the Forth today in two dramatic rescues 3 by the lifeboat and two by a passing boat.

        In its second callout of the day, RNLI's Kinghorn Lifeboat was called into an immediate launch around 7.40pm tonight (Saturday 1/04/06) after a 14 foot motorboat 'Doodlebug' sent a mayday message to HM Coastguard reporting that he was taking on water and required immediate assistance.

        Volunteer Crewman Neil Chalmers said of the rescue, "The stricken vessel was a quarter of a mile off the ash lagoons near to Musselburgh. Updates during the dash across the Forth were relayed from the Coastguard who were in communication with the owner by mobile phone and who reported that the situation on board the speedboat was 'critical'. We knew the RNLI lifeboat was in a desperate race against time to save the lives of the 3 crew from musselburgh and edinburgh."

        "It took us almost 20 minutes at full speed, to make the crossing from Kinghorn to Musselburgh and to arrive in time to rescue the crew from the vessel and we thereafter took them on board, just as the vessel sunk. Thankfully the crew were none the worse for their ordeal, but thanked us warmley for arriving in the nick of time. The owner had only just fitted a GPS system and it was because of that he was able to relay an accurate location, which allowed us to head straight for his location rather than having to search for it which might have been too late!"

        "This was our second call out today, the earlier call in the afternoon was for another vessel which had sunk at Mortimer's Deep. We were called out to the 24 ft creel fishing boat 'Rachael Ruth' that had already sunk in the shipping channel off Inchcolm Island. Fortunately for the 2 crew, a 4 metre Rib "TORNADO 2" was nearby and rescued the two men and took them ashore to Dalgety Bay Sailing Club. When the lifeboat arrived on scene, the crew made a medical assessment of the two men, and requested an ambulance since one of the men was very hypothermic. The lifeboat then left the men in the care of the Coastguard and surveyed the area in which the boat had sunk for debris and fuel leakage, before heading home."

        The volunteer crews who attended the two 'shouts' were Helmsmen Keith Hay and Paul Wibberly along with Crewmen Mike Chalmers, Phil Smythe, Neil Chalmers and Shore crew Ian McLean.

        The RNLI would take this opportunity to remind boat owners to check over their boats and have them serviced prior to taking to the water, advice is available through a free SEACheck service from the RNLI.

      AMBULANCE SERVICE ALL AT SEA! (20/03/2006) more...
        In the first such initiative in Scotland which has been actively encouraged by the Scottish Ambulance Service, around 60 Fife based ambulance staff have applied to take part in a joint training session with RNLI Kinghorn lifeboat volunteers.

        Scottish Ambulance Service staff predict that once the benefits of the training are identified, other areas of Scotland may follow suit. Kinghorn RNLI Lifeboat covers both the Fife and Lothian's coastline, and the crew hope that Ambulance staff on the Lothian's side of the Forth will also wish to take advantage of the training at a later date. The training will take place over 6 weekends, to enable everyone who has applied to benefit from the course.

        RNLI's training officer at Kinghorn, Liz Davidson said, "The benefits to everyone from this type of joint service training are clear, we receive many rescue calls every year which are designated as 'medevacs' (medical evacuation). Each one is different, but all require prompt medical care. Although our volunteer crews are trained in first aid, they are of course, no substitute for the professionalism of the Scottish Ambulance Service Paramedics."

        "Most calls received, relate to injuries sustained on vessels at sea, but we also receive calls relating to walkers along the shoreline/coastal walks who have become injured, but are inaccessible to land based emergency crews. Up until now we were unable to take Paramedics along with us, as they were not trained or equipped to go to sea in a lifeboat. This meant that valuable first aid of such a high level, was unavailable to those in need until the lifeboat arrived back on shore. The RNLI proactively seeks to train with other emergency agencies to ensure that casualties receive the best possible care during an emergency response, providing a prompt initial level of medical care along the coastline around the Forth Estuary."

        Tom Robertson, Area Service Manager for Scottish Ambulance Service Fife, said, "This type of training has been long overdue, we are not a service which is used to standing by where casualties are concerned. We know the importance of immediate paramedic assistance and now with this joint training initiative with the RNLI, we are placing ourselves back in the forefront of being able to provide initial medical care for casualties on and around the sea, whilst keeping our own staff safe thanks to the professionalism of the volunteers on the RNLI lifeboat at Kinghorn and the high level of training they receive and have passed on to my staff."

        Progressive, specialist training prepares RNLI lifeboat crews to operate safely and effectively in some of the most difficult and dangerous conditions at sea. As a charity the RNLI relies on public donations to support its lifesaving service. Training costs an average of £1,000 per year per crew member, which is why the charity has launched its Train One, Save Many campaign to help raise funds to train its volunteer lifeboat crews. For more information please go to or call 01738 642999.

<<<Previous            Next>>>