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The Royal National Lifeboat Institution - Saves Lives at Sea

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      SEARCH OF FORTH CALLED OFF DUE TO FALSE ALARM. (15/01/2005) more...
        The search being carried out by the RNLI lifeboat at Kinghorn near to Silverknowes Caravan Site Edinburgh, tonight, (15/01/2005)has now been brought to a close, after evidence was found that although the calls received were made with good intent, no person was actually requiring the assistance of the lifeboat.




      RNLI LIFEBOAT AT KINGHORN CALLED OUT FOR LATE EVENING SEARCH (15/01/2005) more...
        The RNLI lifeboat at Kinghorn was called into action around 10.15pm tonight, after a report of the sighting of a flare between Cramond Island and the Granton area of Edinburgh was received by the Coastguard at Fife Ness.

        The volunteer crew, consisting of Helmsman Scott McIlravie with Crew members Darren Maddison, Joanne Wibberly and Neil Chalmers are currently concentrating their search around an area adjacent to Silverknowes Caravan Park, Edinburgh, although at this early stage of the operation there are no further details available.

        The lifeboat will continue to search the area until something is found or until such time that they have completed their search area and are stood down by the Coastguard.

        Please DO NOT contact the lifeboat station as the shore crew are monitoring the radio messages and unable to furnish any further details at this stage.


      RNLI LIFEBOATS SEARCH DUE TO FLARE HOAXERS (23/11/2004) more...
        The RNLI lifeboat at Kinghorn was called out earlier tonight (23/11/04) around 9.15pm to carry out a search of the Forth between Inchkeith Island and Leith, after the Coastguard received reports from members of the public of a red distress flare having been seen in the area.

        Shore Crew volunteer, Norman Soutar, who launched the lifeboat and was monitoring the radio messages said 'The lifeboat was tasked to search for a possible small craft or person in the water, and carried out a search pattern in the area. The RNLI Lifeboat from Queensferry was also tasked to assist in the search and initially carried out a search near to Granton Harbour.'

        The volunteer crew of the RNLI lifeboat at Kinghorn, helmsman Scott Mcilravie, Darren Maddison, Neil Chalmers and Joanne Wibberly, whilst en route to their search area, reported seeing a further two distress flares having been launched about two hundred yards north of Granton and narrowed their search pattern in that area.

        Both RNLI lifeboats carried out an extensive search of the area where the flares had been seen, but were unable to locate any person in need of rescue.

        Norman continued, 'Unfortunately this looks like it was a cruel hoax, where the flares are now believed to have been launched from flats on the shore. I believe that a similar incident was also reported a couple of weeks ago. These people may well think that they are having a good laugh, but their stupidity could be placing people in danger. All the volunteer crews will respond to any sightings of flares, to try and save lives, but it is disheartening that despite all the warnings and advice that the RNLI have released over November 5th, that people are continuing with such behaviour.'


      RNLI LIFEBOATS SEARCHING FORTH AFTER DISTRESS FLARE SIGHTED. (23/11/2004) more...
        The RNLI lifeboat at Kinghorn has been called out tonight (23/11/04) at 9.15pm to carry out a search of the Forth between Inchkeith Island and Leith, after several reports from members of the public of a red distress flare having been seen in the area. The lifeboat has been tasked to search for a possible small craft or person in the water, and is presently carrying out a search pattern in the area.

        Queensferry Lifeboat has also now joined the search and is carrying out a shoreline search near to Granton Harbour.

        The crew of the RNLI lifeboat at Kinghorn whilst en route to their search area, reported seeing a further two distress flares having been launched about two hundred yards north of Granton and are presently narrowing their search pattern in that area.

        A further update will be issued when more information comes to light.

        Please DO NOT contact either lifeboat station as the shore crew are monitoring the radio messages and unable to furnish any further details at this stage.


      WORLD RECORD HOLDER HANDS OVER FUNDS (20/11/2004) more...
        Andrea Gellan, the 47 year old mother of three from Dunfermline, who along with 5 other participants, successfully completed a triple non-stop crossing of the English Channel in July, breaking Two World Records in the process, called into the RNLI lifeboat station at Kinghorn on Saturday (20/11/04) and handed over a cheque for £1168 which was the amount she raised for the RNLI lifeboats with her fantastic efforts.

        Andrea, who is also a Senior Lecturer at Falkirk College said of her record breaking swim ' It was a gruelling challenge and we were all exhausted, but extremely elated that we achieved the goal that we worked so long and so hard to achieve, but it doesn't end there! I am now considering a challenge of trying to swim Loch Ness three times in a row, a single attempt at the Channel crossing and also trying to swim across Lake Windermere, which as well as breaking records will allow me to raise even more funds.'

        By completing the double crossing of the Channel in 19 hours and seven minutes which was almost an hour quicker than the previous record and by finally completing three crossings, Andrea and her team have become the first women's team to ever manage it.

        The three crossings were completed between Dover and Calais and took one and a half days to complete. The total distance covered was 70 miles, so each swimmer completed an eleven and a half mile swim during this period. Each swimmer took to the water for an hour at a time with a five hour rest, before they had to do it all again.

        The temperature of the water in the Channel was a cool 14 degrees C. and as it is one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world, the safety crew had their hands full looking out for everyone, especially during the night.

        Charlie Tulloch, RNLI lifeboat Launching Operations Manager at Kinghorn said, 'She is an inspiration to others, working, being a mum and breaking world records. I can't thank her enough for choosing the RNLI Lifeboats as the recipient charity for the £1168 which she managed to raise during her magnificent swim.'

        'At the current rate it costs

        £17 A pair of gloves for a lifeboat crewmember
        £28 A personal flare pack
        £38 A pair of crewmember's boots
        £88 A thermal suit
        £176 A safety helmet
        £500 A lifejacket for our all-weather lifeboat crew

        So Andrea has come close to fully equipping two crew of the RNLI lifeboat at KInghorn, and as we in Scotland are totally funded by voluntary contributions, this helps ensure that we are here to save lives throughout the year. Kinghorn have been called out over 40 times so far this year alone.'



      LIFEBOAT STOOD DOWN BEFORE LAUNCH AT 11PM (04/11/2004) more...
        The crew of the Kinghorn Lifeboat were called to help a woman at Kirkcaldy Prom who was apparently attempting suicide at 11pm tonight (4th Nov 2004).

        The crew were stood down before they launched the lifeboat by Lifeboat Operations Manager, Charlie Tulloch, as the woman made safely for shore.

        The lifeboat crew are on standby 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to help people in distress, whether on boats or near the shore.

      FOR FAWKES SAKE DON'T DO IT! (31/10/2004) more...
        With the rapid onset of November, an appeal is being made to the public not to use flares as substitute fireworks during this year's Guy Fawkes celebrations. The Royal National Lifeboat Institution and Maritime and Coastguard Agency say that rescuers' lives are put at risk every time lifeboat and helicopter crews are called out, in hazardous winter conditions, to what they assume to be a genuine cry for help.

        The problem is increasing year on year, possibly because the festivities are no longer restricted to one night but have extended to a much longer period surrounding November 5. The last three years have seen RNLI volunteer lifeboat crews called out 35 times to false alarms caused by revellers using flares to light up the night sky.


        Kinghorn RNLI lifeboat has been called out every year for the last three years, to flares being sighted by concerned members of the public off Edinburgh, and each time the sightings have been traced back to flares being set off from the land, although this has always followed an extensive search to make sure that there was no one in the water who genuinely required assistance.
        RNLI Staff Officer Operations, Peter Bradley, says:

        'When a flare goes up it is universally recognised as a distress signal, so it's no surprise to find concerned members of the public dialling 999 when they see one - and they should continue to do so.

        'Our volunteer crews are always ready to answer the call, but it is frustrating for them to search through the night because a flare has been fired for the wrong reasons. Not only are they called away from their own family parties on Guy Fawke's Night, but they are also risking their lives each time they put to sea, needlessly searching in often very dangerous conditions.'

        MCA Head of Search and Rescue, Peter Dymond, says:

        'Often people are tempted to use up their out of date flares on Bonfire Night, but this causes real problems for the rescue services. We would urge sailors to dispose of flares safely and responsibly by contacting their nearest Coastguard station. Out of date flares should be replaced straight away - they are an essential part of every sailor's kit and are meant to help save lives, not endanger them.'

        Volunteer Helmsman of Kinghorn RNLI lifeboat, Scott McIlravie said: 'Being a volunteer, I don't mind at all when we get a shout and a chance to save lives at sea, but it is annoying to be sent out on a wild goose chase and spend a couple of hours carrying out searches of the area around where a flare has been seen, to find out that it has been set off on land by someone who is using it like a firework! The people who have access to flares should be aware that if they are set off, then they must be responded to and we have to ensure that no one is in need of rescue, so I would ask them to take heed of our advice and dispose of them by contacting the Coastguard and saving our valuable resources for those that really need us.'



      CHINOOK TRAINING - FIRST IN SCOTLAND (25/10/2004) more...
        Never before has such a sight been seen anywhere in the country! A mini Airshow and Rescue training display will be held in Kinghorn over two days......

        On Saturday 30th October 2004, Kinghorn RNLI Lifeboat Station will play host to the largest Helicopter ever to land on a beach and to take part in winching and rescue trials along with an RNLI lifeboat in Scotland...

        The RAF Chinook Helicopter from RAF Odium, Hampshire, will land on the beach at Kinghorn Harbour, Kinghorn around Midday, while the crews, including Anstruther's, Mersey RNLI Lifeboat crew and South Queensferry's RNLI Lifeboat crew, receive a joint briefing and some Bacon Rolls. (if conditions are unfavourable, it will land in Myers Park) Anyone who is unable to watch the event on the Saturday, will be pleased to hear that a Royal Navy Helicopter will be landing on the beach around 10.30 am on Sunday (31/09/04) for further training exercises.

        Chinooks are used primarily for trooping and for load carrying (both internal and underslung) and can carry up to 54 troops or 10 tons of freight. The cabin is large enough to accommodate two Land Rovers, while the three underslung load hooks allow a huge flexibility in the type and number of loads that can be carried. Secondary roles include Search and Rescue and Casualty Evacuation (a total of 24 stretchers can be carried). The crew consists of either two pilots, or a pilot and navigator, and two Air Loadmasters. The Specifications for the twin engined Helicopter are:

        Engines:
        Two Avco Lycoming turboshafts

        Length:
        51ft 0in (15.54m)

        Rotor Diameter:
        60ft 0in (18.29m)

        Top Speed:
        185mph (298 km/h)

        Helmsman Mike McErlane who arranged the joint operation, explained: 'This will be an exciting sight for everyone, but it also has a very serious side. Both helicopters and RNLI lifeboats need to train for the situation where there is a need for multiple rescues at sea and both need to have the skills to achieve this and the trust in each other, that each service knows how the other works.'

        Continuing he said: 'The only way to achieve these skills and trust, is to train regularly so that it becomes second nature and you understand the operating requirements of the other services. There is a large amount of traffic in the Forth, including the Superfast Ferries and Cruise ships travelling to Edinburgh which carry lots of passengers. Lots of air traffic crosses the Forth Estuary as well. Although these vessels and aircraft are inherently safe with all the required safety equipment on board, we know that disasters can strike and we need to be prepared to save as many lives as possible, should a disaster occur in our area, which includes the Edinburgh side of the coastline.'

        'When I received the chance to work with the biggest of all the Helicopters out there, I jumped at it! I'm sure all the crews who come down to train will see a very big difference between the normal helo flying above us and this monster!'

        John Caldwell, Divisional Inspector for the RNLI in Scotland said: 'Less than 10% of new RNLI crew members have a maritime background, this means regular training is more vital than ever before. Each week RNLI volunteer crews train for dramatic rescues in the worst weather conditions, storm force winds, sub zero temperatures, near zero visibility and 40ft waves. All the crew are dependent on each other; getting it right is a matter of life or death."

        All RNLI lifeboat crews are voluntary and the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, which is a charity set up to save lives at sea, is totally funded by public donations. Everyone is invited to come and watch the displays. The station has a gift shop and you are welcome to browse the gifts on display.



      DON'T GET CAUGHT BY THE GHOULIES! (18/10/2004) more...
        Although it has been several years since Kinghorn was the location for a Spooky Walk, it will again become the venue, when the walks are resurrected on Friday 29th October, Saturday 30th October and Sunday 31st October.

        The Spooky Walks will commence at 7pm from Kinghorn RNLI Boathouse, operating in 20 minute intervals and finishing around 9pm each evening. Monies raised from the Walks will go to RNLI funds.

        Organiser Gordon Tulloch, a Deputy Launch Authority on the RNLI Lifeboat said: 'Several years ago I ran some Spooky Walks around Kinghorn and everyone seemed to enjoy them, now that I am back helping the RNLI, I thought that this would be a good time to resurrect them. They are a bit of fun, but will have a frightening theme and we have to make sure that anyone under 12 years of age is accompanied by an adult.'

        He continued: 'Each tour will have a guide who will take the victims, er.. tourists around the town, and will include some important landmarks where spooky goings on have occurred in the past, and may occur during the tour, you just never know with these things...... What did happen to Murdo Shanks, the man who discovered King Alexander's corpse after he fell from his horse? You will find out on the night - along with several stories that will make your hair stand on end and may make you see Kinghorn in a different light.. We will be charging £2 per adult and £1 for kids of Primary school age, who are brave enough to attempt the walk. Everyone will enjoy themselves, but those of a vulnerable disposition or with heart complaints may be wise not to take part....'

        Anyone who wishes to take part in a tour should pre book their place by calling Gordon on 891008 any evening after 6pm from Sunday 24th October onwards, - places will be limited so book early to avoid disappointment.


      CANOEIST RESCUED IN FORTH (18/09/2004) more...
        Kinghorn RNLI Lifeboat was called to the rescue of a canoeist who was clinging to his water filled canoe, in the main shipping channel of the Forth, at Braefoot Bay, near Inchcolm today (18/09/04).

        The lifeboat was launched at 2.15pm to a report of a canoeist having capsized and who was unable to right himself in the fierce conditions. An RAF Boulmer Search and Rescue Helicopter which was already airborne in the area, was also diverted to the scene and was first arrive and managed to rescue the casualty, Stuart Gray (34) a Landscape Architect from Linlithgow, from the water. Stuart's companion, Alister Low (34) from Stirling, who was in another canoe was rescued by Kinghorn Lifeboat when it arrived at the scene around 2.30pm, Alister and both canoes were taken back to Kinghorn where Stuart had been set down by the helicopter.

        Stuart spoke after his rescue saying: 'Alister and I planned a short trip from Silver Sands in Aberdour to Inchcolm and got caught out! We went to Braefoot Bay where we had a bite to eat and tried to cross the channel to Inchcolm, but the tide had changed direction and with the high winds the conditions suddenly became terrible, the water was very rough and was knocking us about. It seemed to change within 15 minutes. I was knocked out of my canoe and although I managed to get back in again, I was continually being knocked back into the water and the canoe was taking on water all the time. The waves were climbing to two metres and I was stuck and started to rapidly feel the cold.'

        Alister added: 'We had prepared safety drills in which one could rescue the other, but the conditions really were just so bad, there was no way I could help Stuart, it was bad enough trying to keep myself in the canoe as the waves were pounding us from different directions. I had a phone and made my way back to the shelter of Inchcolm so I could call for help.'

        Stuart continued: 'I had been in the water around half an hour and starting to turn blue, when I heard the helicopter arriving, I've never been so grateful in my life. These rescue crews of the Helicopter and lifeboats are just the bees knees. They dropped me off on the beach at Kinghorn lifeboat station, and told me I was bordering on hypothermia. The lifeboat brought Alister and both our canoes back to Kinghorn. I've learned so much today, it will be a while and a lot more training and experience before I go back out on the water again. I can't thank the crews enough for their help, thank God we have such professional rescue services!'

        Mhairi Hay, a member of the lifeboat crew said: 'There was a 2-3 metre swell and a strong south westerly wind blowing, which made conditions difficult for the lifeboat heading into it. It is the roughest sea, I have personally had to steer through. It took us around 15 minutes to reach the scene which wasn't bad going, given the rough sea. Kinghorn Bay is so sheltered, you sometimes get a surprise at how rough the main channel can be, and I think the canoeists were caught out as well. Luckily there was a helicopter nearby who managed to lift Stuart from the water fairly quickly. Given the conditions, we rescued Alister and ferried both canoes back to Kinghorn. Both Guys are very sensible, but sea conditions can change so quickly and I think they were caught out. People sometimes forget just how cold, even the sheltered waters of the Forth can be with prolonged exposure."

        The lifeboat crew and launch team consisted of Mhairi Hay, Mike McErlane, Dave Farns Joanne Wibberly and Evelyn Stoker.



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