News Articles

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution - Saves Lives at Sea

News Articles

      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.

      65FT FISHING VESSEL RESCUE (29/08/2004) more...
        Kinghorn Lifeboat was called out tonight (29/08/04) after a 65 foot fishing vessel with seven passengers and crew ran aground at Port Seton.

        The Lifeboat was launched at 6.45pm after Forth Coastguard received a distress call from the stranded boat. The voluntary crew of the Lifeboat was launched with Helmsmen Mike McErlane and Scott McIlravie, along with crew members Darren Maddison and Neil Chalmers.

        The crew faced a rough crossing of the Forth to reach the vessel, as there was a two to three metre swell and a force 6 wind at the time.

        Crewman Darren Maddison commented, " It was a fairly bumpy crossing as there were some large waves to negotiate, unfortunately there is no shelter once you leave Kinghorn Bay and you have to rely on the skill of the Helmsman to ensure you arrive quickly but safely."

        Helmsman Scott McIlravie added," We knew that we had to cross the Forth to assist the stricken vessel, and it was a fairly rough crossing. We were notified that the "St. Britwin" travelling from Eyemouth to Cockenzie for scheduled maintenance, had run aground about 50 metres from the harbour at Port Seton, and its stern was taking the brunt of the waves, but although it was taking on water, the pumping system was working."

        "Because it was such a rough crossing, it was about 7.10pm before we arrived and were able to assist the passengers and crew. There were 3 women and 4 men on board and one of the woman was suffering from shock and severe sea sickness."

        "We managed to help anchor the vessel so that it would withstand the battering of the waves until it was ready to be refloated and we transferred passengers and crew to safety. The ill lady was treated by paramedics at the harbour."

        "We returned to Kinghorn around 8.30pm and will re-launch at 11pm to return and stand-by the vessel, along with Anstruther lifeboat, in case there are engine problems as it could easily run onto rocks which are about 20 feet away on either side of it. So we will just be ensuring that the boat refloats and is able to make its own way into port. As it is such a large vessel. it will need the power of Anstruther Lifeboat, should it require a tow in weather such as this."

        The crew were launched by the Shore party of Ian McLean and Joanne Wibberly, who will also have to remain on duty until the lifeboat returns to station at the end of this long 'shout'.

      INJURED WOMAN FERRIED TO SAFETY (11/08/2004) more...
        Kinghorn 's Lifeboat Crew received no rest again tonight, when they were called out around 6.15pm, (11/08/04) to aid an injured walker near Braefoot Bay.

        The alarm was raised after the woman, Pauline Johnston (in her 50's) from Edinburgh, who had been walking along a grassy path between Dalgety Bay and Braefoot Bay, slipped on the wet grass and broke her ankle and wrist whilst falling.

        Although paramedics arrived on the scene to treat the ladies injuries, they were unable to extricate her to an ambulance from where she had fallen. The Ambulance service alerted the Coastguard to their plight and Coastguard personnel called out Kinghorn's volunteer crew for the second night in a row.

        The Lifeboat was crewed by Helmsman, Mike McErlane, Keith Hay and Mike Chalmers. They were able to get within one hundred metres of the casualty, whereby Keith and Mike waded ashore, across the rocks to reach the injured woman.

        The crew and Paramedics strapped the lady to a stretcher and along with the assistance of another man who had been walking in the area, they carried the stretcher to the waiting Lifeboat.

        The Lifeboat thereafter ferried the casualty and her friend, to Dalgety Bay sailing club, where another Ambulance was waiting to receive her. She was thereafter transferred to Queen Margaret Hospital in Dunfermline for treatment.

        Crewman Keith Hay said of the callout, "We were helped out by a Good Samaritan, unfortunately I didn't get his name, but he remained with Pauline to allow her friend to summon help just after she had fallen, and he helped us to carry the stretcher to the Lifeboat, so I'd just like to thank him for his help."

        The Shore Crew who assisted the Lifeboat to launch were Norman Soutar and Mhairi Hay.

      SAME BOAT - DIFFERENT RESCUE! (10/08/2004) more...
        Kinghorn Lifeboat was called out to rescue two persons on board the troubled vessel, 'Lady Marion' in The Firth of Forth, earlier this evening. (10/07/04)

        This is the second time in a week that RNLI lifeboats have been called to the vessel's aid, as the boat was also rescued by Anstruther Lifeboat, last Saturday, (07/08/04) having suffered engine failure in the fog, near Elie.

        Mike McErlane, Helmsman of the volunteer crew, said, " We were called into service around 4.50pm, when the crew of the boat called the coastguard for help. Normally we would be able to ask the number of the buoy which helps us to navigate quickly to it, but the coastguard said the crew had contacted them by mobile phone, so we couldn't get in touch with them directly. We were told that their rudder had failed and they had anchored off a buoy in the middle of the shipping lane near to Inchcolm Island. When we arrived and saw the position they were in, I had to contact Forth Navigation to slow a ship and the Superfast Ferry down, whilst we assisted the boat to safety. "

        He added, "Luckily the weather was fairly good and we had good visibility, so were able to arrive within ten minutes, to assist them and tow them to safety. There was a large swell and the waves were breaking quite badly, so we had to be careful during the tow and it also took some time for us to get the boat back into the boathouse on our return."

        Kinghorn Lifeboat towed the vessel to safety at Dalgety Bay where Coastguard personnel spoke with the crew. The Lifeboat was crewed by Mike Mcerlane, Rob Moore, Mike Chalmers and Martin Lamden, who were launched by shore crewman, Norman Soutar.

        Mike McErlane the Senior Helmsman on Kinghorn Lifeboat received an invitation to attend at last week's Royal opening of the RNLI's new Lifeboat College in Poole.

        The RNLI welcomed its patron, Her Majesty The Queen, to its headquarters in Poole for the Royal Opening of the world’s first Lifeboat College on 28 July 2004.

        After being shown the specialist training facilities, The Queen, accompanied by The Duke of Edinburgh, declared it officially open. The Royal Party then posed for a photograph with 233 coxswains and helmsmen, representing the RNLI stations and volunteer crews that will benefit from the college.

        Wearing a mint green tunic and cream hat with a lilac flower, Her Majesty then waved as all 233 lifeboatmen raised their hats and gave her three cheers, led by RNLI Chairman Sir Jock Slater.

        Speaking at the opening, Sir Jock said: ‘I am delighted that our 233 stations around the coast of the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland are represented here today by their coxswains and helmsmen who, with their predominantly volunteer crews, last year launched operationally 8,109 times and rescued 7,987 people.’ He added: ‘Our crews – and all in support – deserve the finest equipment, the best training and the fullest support we can give them.’

        The Royal Party was also shown around the integrated Survival Centre, which includes a lifeboat bridge simulator and a wave tank.

        Declaring the Lifeboat College officially open, Her Majesty said: ‘Having just seen some of the excellent training that is already being delivered, I am certain that the Lifeboat College will play a vital role in helping the RNLI to save even more lives at sea. Therefore, it is with great pleasure that I declare The Lifeboat College open.’

        Mike (35) a Boatmaster at Hound Point Oil Terminal, has been a volunteer crewman on Kinghorn Lifeboat for 18 years and has been a Helmsman for almost 7 years.

        Mike thoroughly enjoyed his experience saying,"I was surprised to have been nominated to attend at this prestigious event. We spent a week down at Poole meeting the other volunteers and being shown the fantastic new facilities that will enhance the training available to new trainees in the future. A lot of money has been spent on these facilities, but with better training, the crews will be able to provide a more professional response and help to save even more lives, so I would have to say that it is money well spent!"

      KINGHORN LIFEBOAT'S OPEN DAY SUCCESS (01/08/2004) more...
        Kinghorn Lifeboat's crew and fundraising branch are extremely happy with the response they achieved for their recent Open Day. They have received the highest amount of money ever raised at such a one day event, more than £2400.

        They wish to send out their thanks to the Public who came along to enjoy the day and to the members of the press who made the event such as it was, by publicising it before hand.

        Mary Tulloch President of the fundraising branch said, " This was our best day in fundraising terms, ever. Everyone who helped in the organising of the event are all volunteers and gave their time and energy free of charge to make the day what it was."

        "Although the weather could have been a lot better and the organisers of the raft race failed to turn up, as is usual on the lifeboat, the crew put their minds to tackling the problem and found a way to overcome it. The raft race eventually went ahead thanks to the generosity of the owners of the nearby Wee Shoppe who donated two rubber dinghy's to allow the event to go ahead."

        "The enthusiasm of the local pub teams who participated in the raft race made the event. The Ship, The Crown, The Auld House and The Carousel all entered teams with The Crown taking the winners stage."

        The photo shows Kinghorn Lifeboat Helmsman, Scott McIlravie being the target of the Splat the Pirate stall.

        Andrea Gellan, the 47 year old mother of three from Dunfermline, has successfully completed the triple non-stop crossing of the English Channel in her bid to raise funds for the RNLI Lifeboats. Along with the 5 other participants, Andrea has also broken Two World Records in the process!

        Andrea, who is also a Senior Lecturer at Falkirk College, said "Its Fantastic! I am over the moon that we have managed to break not just one record, but two! It was a gruelling challenge and we are all exhausted, but extremely elated that we have achieved the goal that we have worked so long and so hard to achieve. I have been training around 8 times a week in order to attempt the crossing and it has all been worth it. I am hoping by achieving this record breaking swim, that I will raise as much funds for RNLI Lifeboats as I can, as my friend is on the crew of Kinghorn Lifeboat and I know of the good work carried out by them."

        "We started at 3am on Friday morning, which meant we were tired to start with, and were starting in the coldest, darkest, part of the night so that dampened our enthusiasm slightly. But we managed to keep going through it all and beat our first record by completing the double crossing in 19 hours and seven minutes, which was almost an hour quicker than the previous record, and by finally completing three crossings we have become the first womens team to ever manage it."

        Andrea completed the triple-relay swim along with 5 other women. She admits to being the eldest of the group, with the youngest in their 20's and they are the first ladies team to manage to complete the three crossings. A second record was also broken when the team completed two crossings in under 20 hours, under Channel Swimming Association rules.

        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 at this time of year is 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, Kinghorn Lifeboats Operations Manager said, "Andrea phoned me last night around 9pm to say that she and the team had broken two records during the crossing attempt. It is just wonderful news that they have managed to complete such a marathon swim and become record holders in the process, not just once, but twice over. Andrea was understandably tired but overwhelmed with her achievement and was going to bed, leaving the celebrations until today!"

        "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 any money she raises. Although she has raised around £500 so far, which is enough to equip one lifeboatman with a lifejacket, I'm sure now that she has reached her goal that others may think that she deserves to raise more money from her efforts than that."

        So far Andrea is hoping to raise at least £1000 for the Lifeboats, but hopes her achievement will bring in more for such a good cause. 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

        Anyone wishing to donate to Andrea can contact her by e-mail on or by contacting The Scottish RNLI Fundraising Office on 01738 642999, by Fax on 01738 642998, by e-mail on or write to them at RNLI, Unit 3, Ruthvenfield Grove, Inveralmond Industrial Estate, Perth PH1 3GL mentioning Andrea Gellan's name.

      ONLY TWO WEEKS TILL OUR OPEN DAY! (02/07/2004) more...
        "This year's annual Open Day will take place during the afternoon of Saturday, 17th 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 this is their major fund-raising event of the year 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 numerous 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 17th July the boat will be just one of the attractions on display, however," he added, "with a host of other activities, such as raft races, rescue displays, 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.

        "Last year nationally hundreds of lives were saved," Charlie added , "and everyone involved at Kinghorn is very proud of the contribution we make to the RNLI with the Atlantic 75 which is a far cry from the village's first-ever lifeboat back in the 1960's. Our first ever service call took place on 27th June, 1965, when the newly-arrived single-engined inflatable went to the aid of the Venus, a dismasted catamaran which was lying close to Inchkeith."

        "During more recent times we have been involved in tragedies like the mail plane crash off Granton in February, 2001, while the record books show literally hundreds of launches through the years," added Charlie finally, "with the number of lives being saved standing testimony to the bravery and prompt actions of the crews past and present. With the long days of summer we can expect to be back in action, as this is our busiest period, but hopefully not during this year's Open Day!"

        Lifeboat crews save lives, often in dangerous circumstances, but depend entirely on voluntary contributions and legacies to survive themselves. It costs more than £100 million a year to run a lifeboat service which is available round the clock and free of charge to those who need it.

        A 90 year old woman from Rosyth, has donated all her birthday presents to benefit Kinghorn Lifeboat and Sight Savers.

        Beatrice Eskdale celebrated her 90th birthday recently with 100 friends, her family from Newcastle and neighbours but asked that there should be no gifts. However, guests raised £700 for her favourite charities - the RNLI and Sight Savers. The gathering comprised all age groups, from as far afield as Bath and included representatives from each of the four churches in the town – Catholic, Methodist, Baptist and Church of Scotland.

        Auntie Bea, as she is affectionately called locally, is still making home-made cakes and pies and helps raise funds for charities including RNLI, Sight Savers, Cat Protection, Christian Aid and Leprosy Mission. She also helps with catering and raising funds in all the churches of Rosyth. Over the last 50 years she has catered for Sunday School and Scout parties and still bakes for the Baptist Church Café. Bea says she owes her longevity, good health and contentment to her baking activities and if ever she needs to raise her spirits she can be found in her kitchen.

        Beatrice, who was widowed in 1966, originates from Hepburn in Newcastle and moved to Portsmouth with husband Alex during the War, after which they moved north to Rosyth for Alex’s work in the dockyard. They brought up their two daughters, Beatrice and Edith in the town and in later years Beatrice did cleaning in the local school for many years and she was a good neighbour to many.

        Beatrice Said, " I was invited to present my cheque to the crew of Kinghorn Lifeboat recently and was delighted to meet them. Several crew members turned out to receive me and I learned all about the service they provide. I was most impressed by the dedication of the crew and amazed at their 6 minute response time from activation of their pagers. I was welcomed into the boathouse and the crew told me all about the types of situations to which they respond, the self-funding aspect of the operation, which relies on donations, legacies and fund-raising and I was given a guided tour of the Lifeboat station which is ten years old. I am full of admiration for all the volunteers involved. I had a wonderful morning having coffee and posing for photographs with them."

        Charlie Tulloch, the Lifeboat Operations Manager said," It really is wonderful that someone like Bea is thinking of the Lifeboat, when she is celebrating her own birthday. The truth is, that the Lifeboats would be unable to survive without the assistance of people like Bea, willing to give up a little, or a lot, in order to keep them operating and saving lives at sea. I can't thank her enough for her generousity and the crew all send her their thanks and best wishes for the future. I have invited her along to our open day on July 17th and hope she is able to return for it."

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