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The Royal National Lifeboat Institution - Saves Lives at Sea

News Articles

        The RNLI lifeboat at Kinghorn was called into action around 7pm tonight (27/01/05) to a report of a Fishing Vessel having run aground onto rocks, near to Port Seton.

        The 30 foot vessel 'The Beulah' was initially reported to be listing heavily and taking on water, with two people on board. The Beulah ran onto the rocks 3 hours after the highest tide had been reached.

        The volunteer lifeboat crew, Helmsman Mike McErlane with Paul Wibberly, Mhairi Hay and Rob Moore, along with the Shore Crew of Norman Soutar and Evelyn Stoker were rapidly deployed and the lifeboat reached the stricken vessel within 15 minutes of the launch.

        On arriving, the crew saw that the vessel was stuck firmly on the rocks with no immediate danger of sinking or capsizing. Crewman Paul Wibberly swam around the vessel to check for any holes, as the jagged rocks were too sharp to allow the lifeboat to get in closer.

        Although no holes were apparent the skipper reported that they were taking on water. Both crewmen of the vessel were reported safe and well. Given the state of the tides, the Coastguard estimate that the vessel will be unable to be refloated from the rocks until after 1.30am tomorrow morning.

        The volunteer crew will have a long night ahead of them, as they will have to be on scene again around 1am when the vessel is refloated, to ensure the safety of the Fishermen should the vessel start to sink when it leaves the rocks and makes its own way or is towed into harbour.

      NO REST FOR VOLUNTEER CREW! (16/01/2005) more...
        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.

        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.

        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.

        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.'

        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:

        Two Avco Lycoming turboshafts

        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.

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