News Articles

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution - Saves Lives at Sea

News Articles

      ONCE IS NOT ENOUGH! (25/06/2004) more...
        Most people who attempt to swim the English Channel only do it once. Andrea Gellan (47) from Dunfermline intends to do it three times non-stop!

        Andrea, a mother of three and Senior Lecturer at Falkirk College, said,"I have been training around 8 times a week in order to attempt the crossing at the end of July. I am hoping that the record breaking attempt will raise funds for RNLI Lifeboats, as my colleague at work, Mhairi Hay, is a member of Kinghorn Lifeboat's crew and I am well aware of the good work carried out by them."

        Andrea won't be doing the crossing alone, however, as it is a triple-relay swim with 5 other women. She admits to being the eldest of the group, with the youngest in their 20's and if the team do manage to complete the three crossings, they will be the first ladies team ever to do so.

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

        The temperature of the water in the Channel at that 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 will have their hands full, especially during the hours of darkness. A second record may also be broken if the team can complete two crossings in under 20 hours, under Channel Swimming Association rules.

        Although this is Andrea's first attempt at such a crossing she has completed a nine and a half mile swim across the length of Loch Rannoch and will complete an 8KM swim in Weymouth this weekend and a further 8 mile swim in Torbay at the start of July. She is well aware of the difficulties she might face from stinging jellyfish to sea sickness and dehydration.

        So far Andrea has raised £500 for the Lifeboats, but hopes her achievement will bring in more for such a good cause. Anyone wishing to sponsor Andrea can contact her by e-mail on or by calling into Kinghorn Lifeboat Station any Sunday morning where you can also view the Atlantic 75 Lifeboat up close and speak with the volunteer crews.

      EVANS ABOVE! (22/06/2004) more...
        One of Kinghorn Lifeboat's most stalwart volunteers has finally decided to retire. Fred Evans (57) has been involved with the lifeboat since 1987 when he was only 40.

        This is not the first time Fred has had to retire, as the maximum age for remaining on the Inshore Lifeboat is 45. After 5 years on the then 'D' class lifeboat, he faced his initial retiral. Fred, however, refused to leave and started up the first ever shore party at Kinghorn.

        This was the first time that the crew had been effectively split, with the formation of the tractor drivers which allowed the lifeboat crew to return and get warmed up, whilst the shore crew refuelled and checked the boat ready for its next launch.

        With the move from the old shed to the purpose built 'house' and the changeover to a brand new Atlantic 75 the fastest in the RNLI fleet, in 1995, Fred continued to lead the shore crew with Health and Safety and shore based training high on his list.

        Fred could be regularly seen on the patio above the crew, casting his critical eye over their launching and recovery procedures.

        Charlie Tulloch, the Honorary Station Secretary said, "Fred has given up many years of his own time to be here and assist with the Lifeboat, both as Lifeboatman and Shore Crew. Fred realises that the Shore Crew are just as important as the Lifeboat Crew. Without either, the Lifeboat would never launch. I would just like to thank Fred, and of course his long suffering wife Mary for allowing such a sacrifice to the Lifeboat."

        Fred who was presented with a bronze statue of a lifeboatman from the crew and a citation from the RNLI, said "I am sad to be leaving, but unfortunately my health no longer allows me to continue. I have enjoyed my last 17 years with the Lifeboat enormously but I will still come around now and again." He added with a wry smile, "And woe betide them if I see any shoddy launching! I have promised to come along for the Open Day to help out and I am only a phone call away...!"

        RNLI volunteer crews are funded entirely by donations and provide a 24 hour service around the coast. Kinghorn Lifeboat will hold its annual Open Day on Saturday 17th July 2004.

      LIFEBOAT ATTENDS OPEN DAY (20/06/2004) more...
        Despite the dreary weather on Saturday, Kinghorn Lifeboat still managed to thrill the crowd with a life saving display.

        The venue for the event was Dalgety Bay Sailing Club's Open Day. Kinghorn's Inshore Lifeboat, an Atlantic 75 - one of the fastest in the RNLI fleet, was on display at the Sailing Club.

        Kinghorn Lifeboat covers both sides of the forth from Aberdour to Largo Bay on the north and Granton to Gullane on the south.

        Mike McErlane, a volunteer Helmsman on the crew said,"We are invited along to Dalgety Bay Sailing Club's Open Day every year. It gives us the opportunity to show off the capabilities of the lifeboat to a captive audience, who usually have some interest in boats. At the same time we can highlight the reason for our being and the rescue display gives us the chance to show off our highly trained capabilities."

        The lifeboat speeds away after recovering a 'casualty' during the rescue demonstration

        "I hope that by giving up my own time to show people what we can do, that they will remember us when it comes to putting their hand in their pockets! The lifeboats are totally funded by contributions from the public and people will have the chance to help save lives on the sea by coming along to Kinghorn Lifeboat's Open Day on July 17th."

        The other members of the crew at the event were Mhairi Hay, Neil Chalmers, Philip Smythe and not forgetting Judith Frame, the tractor driver who launched and recovered the craft.

      RAF HELICOPTER VISITS KINGHORN (24/05/2004) more...
        The RAF Rescue Seaking helicopter from Boulmer in Northumberland paid a visit to Kinghorn on Saturday 22nd May 2004.

        The helicopter landed in the Myres Park, Kinghorn, which allowed the aircrew to have lunch and a briefing session with the crews of the Kinghorn and Queensferry lifeboats, in Kinghorn Lifeboat Station. The landing caused quite a spectacle, and had people from the village out for a look at their visitor.

        The seaking sits in Myre's Park

        "However," said Helmsman Mike McErlane of the Kinghorn Lifeboat crew, "quite typical of the rescue services trying to meet for training, the RAF helicopter crew were scrambled to a diver in difficulties off St Abbs." Cutting the briefing short they were whisked back to the helicopter by members of the lifeboat crew, and headed out on their rescue mission within minutes.

        Not wanting to miss out on a valuable training opportunity though, the crew returned after they were stood down from the rescue and began their training with the Kinghorn and Queensferry lifeboats in Kinghorn Bay. About 45 minutes later the helicopter and the Kinghorn lifeboat relocated to Largo Bay to train with the Anstruther lifeboat.

        "It was a great opportunity to get the aircrew together with the three local lifeboat crews," said Rob Moore, a crewmember of the Kinghorn Lifeboat. "This is teamwork at its best."

        "Being interrupted by a real life rescue is just a hazard of the business," he continued,"and just shows that no matter what we've planned and organised, it's the people in trouble on the water who come first."

        The next planned opportunity for locals to see a Seaking is during our annual open day - 17th July 2004 - when the Royal Navy Seaking from Prestwick is expected to join us for a rescue demonstration in the bay.

      THREE LIVES SAVED BY LIFEBOAT CREW (10/05/2004) more...
        Kinghorn Lifeboat was launched last night (9/5/2004) when a young girl and two adult males in their twenties found themselves in difficulty in the water off Portobello.

        "The 10 year-old girl and one of the men had been out on a jet-ski which apparently capsized, tipping them into the water," explained RNLI crewman Scott McIlravie.

        "The owner of the jet-ski had been watching from the shore and he swam out to try to help them," he continued, "but appears to have found himself struggling too.

        "We were launched around 8.25 pm," Scott went on, "and took them ashore where fortunately they were found to be suffering from little more than the effects of the cold."

        It is thought that the three people rescued are all from the Edinburgh area.

        The Atlantic 75 lifeboat, one of the fastest in the RNLI fleet, was crewed last night by Scott McIlravie, Darren Maddison and Andy Preston.

        Kinghorn's Myre Park will play host to an unusual visitor later this month (22/5/2004) when a Sea King helicopter from RAF Boulmer in Northumberland drops in.

        The chopper will arrive around 11.30 am, shortly before helping recent recruits to the RNLI Kinghorn Lifeboat see their training reach new heights off the Fife shoreline at lunchtime.

        The new crew members will be among those raised and lowered from the helicopter helicopter during a regular visit to exercise rescue techniques.

        The Kinghorn Lifeboat crew are always on the look out for new volunteers and anyone wishing more information can contact the Lifeboat Station by telephone (01592 890663) or via e-mail ( ). Or alternatively callers can visit the Lifeboat Station any Sunday morning when the crew train between 10 am and noon.

        Another opportunity to see the craft and crew at close quarters will be on Saturday, 17th July, when the Lifeboat Station hosts its annual Open Day.

        The lifeboat crew were called out of their beds at 2am on Sunday morning to assist two men in the water inside Burntisland harbour.

        The weather conditions were misty and mild, and as the lifeboat made its way down the slipway the coastguard called to stand the crew down. The men had made safely for the shore.

      LIFEBOAT CREW REACH NEW HEIGHTS AGAIN! (23/04/2004) more...
        [This was cancelled at the last minute for operational reasons, and has been rescheduled for Saturday 21st May!]

        Kinghorn's Myre Park will play host to an unusual visitor tomorrow (24/4/2004) morning when a Sea King helicpter from RAF Boulmer in Northumberland drops in.

        The chopper will arrive around 11.30 am, shortly before helping recent recruits to the RNLI Kinghorn Lifeboat see their training reach new heights off the Fife shoreline at lunchtime.

        The new crew members will be among those raised and lowered from the helicopter helicopter during a regular visit to exercise rescue techniques.

        Footnote: The Anstruther and Queensferry lifeboats will also be in attendance, making this an invaluable training session for all concerned!0

      LIFEBOAT CREW REACH NEW HEIGHTS (12/04/2004) more...
        Recent recruits to the RNLI Kinghorn Lifeboat crew saw their training reach new heights off the Fife shoreline at lunchtime on Sunday 11th April.

        The new crew members were among those raised and lowered from a Royal Navy Sea King helicopter from HMS Gannet at Prestwick during a regular visit to exercise rescue techniques. The Kinghorn Lifeboat crew are always on the look out for new volunteers and anyone wishing more information can contact the Lifeboat Station by telephone (01592 890663) or via e-mail ( ). Or alternatively callers can visit the Lifeboat Station any Sunday morning when the crew train between 10 am and noon.

        The Kinghorn lifeboat crew were out on a routine training exercise when they noticed an orange boat in the distance moving quickly up the Forth.

        Suspecting that a neighbouring lifeboat was invading their "patch" they decided to investigate! They caught up with the boat just off Kinghorn to discover that it was indeed another RNLI Lifeboat - the Trent class lifeboat and eight crew from Dunbar, East Lothian.

        The crew were invited back to Kinghorn station for coffee and biscuits, before they headed off again to meet HMS Ark Royal, which left Rosyth later in the afternoon.

        The Dunbar crew managed to capture some pictures of the meeting, some of which are available in our picture gallery section on the website:

        We would like to thank the boys for coming along, and to let them know they are welcome back any time!

      KINGHORN LIFEBOAT OPEN DAY 2004 (27/01/2004) more...
        Next year - 2005 - will see Kinghorn Lifeboat Station celebrate the 40th anniversary of its first ever shout.

        That was back in June, 1965, but long before then the Kinghorn crew are hoping to have a party with guests coming in from all corners of the Kingdom and beyond.

        "This year's annual Open Day will take place on Saturday, 17th July," explained local Lifeboat spokesman Alan McIlravie, "and we hope that as many people as possible will make a diary note now and come along on what promises to be a very special and enjoyable day.".

        Kinghorn's RNLI lifeboat crew know a thing or two about records having been the first in Britain to be called out in the new Millennium, but this year those responsible for the local Lifeboat Station are hoping for an all-time high number of visitors when they open their doors to the public on what is their annual major fund-raising event when the busy station will play host to visitors, young and old, wishing to inspect the historic lifeboat at close quarters 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," Alan continued, "when we can show off the Frederick Robertson, our 24 ft long Atlantic 75 rescue craft, the fastest in the RNLI fleet, which is capable of up to 34 knots.

        "On 17th July the boat will be just one of the attractions on display, however," he added, "with a host of other activities also being laid on throughout the afternoon at the Lifeboat Station and adjacent beach area, and we hope that as many people as possible will come along to meet us and to give their support to this wonderful organisation and the voluntary crews."

        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," added Alan McIlravie, "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.

        "The Kinghorn Station's first ever service call took place at 6 pm 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.

        "Other notable launches in the 1960's included the rescue of the crew of a catamaran belonging to the then Kirkcaldy Technical College (now Fife College) which had capsized half a mile south west of Kinghorn, the ferrying of a number of children - and two dogs - who had been cut off by the tide on Cramond Island, and working with a helicopter as it winched a father and son to safety from a dinghy capsized off Methil.

        "June 1970 saw the Kinghorn craft save 19 lives when she went to the aid of a fishing boat which had broken down off Kirkcaldy Esplanade, there being no other means of towing it in than by the crew manually holding a line.

        "That month must have been particularly warm," added Alan with a smile, "given the activities of the couple whose boat was seen drifting off the Haystack Rock near Dalgety Bay. Nautically they were in no difficulty at all, the official position of the casualties being recorded as "Horizontal, 5 miles west of station".

        "In 1971 the lifeboat was launched after someone in Kinghorn spotted an arm waving in the sea. It turned out to be a large rubber gauntlet, while in more recent times call-outs have included the rescue of a car floating off Burntisland, a giant whale carcass off Pettycur Beach and a live dolphin from Drum Sands.

        "On another occasion the boat took in tow a stolen fishing vessel, complete with the thief still on board but other rescues have been much more serious, including that of a family clinging to the upturned hull of their craft which had turned turtle while being used for para-gliding and the recovery of a drunk man who was within minutes of dying from hypothermia after nearly an hour in the water off Granton Harbour in April, 1996.

        "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 Alan finally, "with the number of lives being saved standing testimony to the bravery and prompt actions of the crews past and present.

        "With the approach of the spring and summer we can expect to be back in action again for a variety of reasons, but hopefully not during this year's Open Day!"

        Lifeboat crews are in the business of saving 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.

        But as well as financial support the RNLI are also always on the look-out for new volunteers and information about how people can help, in whatever way, will be available throughout the Open Day at Kinghorn, or indeed during any Sunday morning training session between 10 am and noon at the Lifeboat Station which can also be contacted by telephone (01592 890663), by e-mail ( or via the Lifeboat Station website ( ).

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