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The Royal National Lifeboat Institution - Saves Lives at Sea

News Articles

        Kinghorn's Atlantic 75 lifeboat brought the body of a man ashore at Burntisland earlier today after he was spotted floating in the stormy waters of the Firth of Forth near to the shoreline of Incholm off Aberdour shortly after 1 pm.

        It is thought that the body may be that of one of two fishermen who have been missing in the area since last month.

        The RNLI rescue boat was launched around 2 pm crewed by Mike McErlane, Keith Hay and Michael Chalmers.

        "This was a pretty straight forward recovery," explained Mike, "but we did not get back to Kinghorn until nearly 5 pm.

        "The body of the man was spotted near to the north west corner of the island by someone on Inchcolm," continued Mike, "and we liaised with the Police after bringing the body into Burntisland."

        Anyone wanting to keep up to date on the activities of Kinghorn Lifeboat Station can now do so through their own website - - with anyone signed-up to their e-mail newsletter system being updated anytime there is a call-out.

      RECORD YEAR FOR RNLI KINGHORN (07/01/2004) more...
        For the record Kinghorn Lifeboat and its volunteer crew have had another busy year.

        The first RNLI team to respond to a call-out in the Millennium have just logged their busiest-ever year in 2003.

        "Our Atlantic 75, one of the fastest in the RNLI fleet, responded to a record-breaking number of shouts," explained crew member Scott McIlravie, "meaning that we have now consistently broken records year on year since 2000 - 47 in 2001, 50 in 2002 and no fewer than 56 last year.

        "This saw us spend almost 90 hours at sea in 2003 on rescues, going to the assistance of 77 people, two of whose lives we saved, and not forgetting two dogs.

        "During August," Scott went on, "traditionally our busiest month, saw around a quarter of all the year's rescues taking place.

        "Almost half of the shouts were to go to the assistance of boats in trouble - 21 out of the 56 - ranging from towing vessels home to assisting yachts perched precariously on rocks and righting, bailing out and recovering capsized and sinking dinghies with people struggling against the elements.

        "Around a fifth of all the call-outs took place at night," he continued, "getting our volunteer crews out of their beds between 10 pm and 7 am, often when they still had to go to work the next day."

        On the crew front a recruitment campaign during the summer bolstered falling numbers which were beginning to ring alarm bells very loudly indeed.

        "The campaign was an unprecedented success," Scott explained, "and we currently have 14 new volunteers going through their initial year's training.

        "This effectively trebled our numbers, with some of the new recruits having already assisted with call-outs, three of them actually taking part in the rescue attempts when two fishermen were reported missing near to the Forth Bridges last month.

        "Additionally our annual Open Day last year was also our busiest-ever, raising near than £2000 towards the cost of running the Lifeboat Station. Hopefully we can top even that figure, however, when the 2004 Open Day takes place on Saturday, July 17."

        Anyone wanting to keep up to date on the activities of Kinghorn Lifeboat Station can now do so through their own website - - with anyone signed-up to their e-mail newsletter system being updated anytime there is a call-out."

      SEARCH OF THE RIVER FORTH (28/12/2003) more...
        At first light this morning the search resumed for two fishermen missing overnight on a windswept, bitterly cold Firth of Forth.

        But as every minute passed hopes were fading for the two men, believed to be neighbours from the Edinburgh area, as no sign of the men and their 12 foot motorboat was found.

        Throughout the night no fewer than seven local lifeboats, inshore and offshore, from stations at Kinghorn, Dunbar, North Berwick, South Queensferry and Anstruther, were being co-ordinated by HM Coastguard at Fifeness, near Crail, in an effort to find the men alive.

        "But with temperatures as low as they are, obviously our concerns are mounting the longer it takes to find any trace of the men or their boat," explained Alan McIlravie of Kinghorn Lifeboat at lunchtime today.

        "But nobody involved in the search is giving up hope and the sweep of the entire Forth, from Alloa beyond the Kincardine Bridge, to the mouth of the river will continue to be covered until we do find them.

        "The search is being co-ordinated in a grid fashion with each lifeboat having a particular area to sweep and we remain confident at this time that we will find the men, such is the detail of the efforts being made."

        But for the Kinghorn crew the search has not been without added drama.

        The men were reported missing around 8pm on Saturday night with the Kinghorn Atlantic 75 craft, one of the fastest in the RNLI fleet, being among the first to be launched.

        "The sheer length of the search time has meant we have had to swap crews three times," continued Alan McIlravie, "and to add to our concerns we are expecting a crew of mechanics from the Scottish RNLI headquarters in Perth later today to swap engines on the lifeboat as the existing one has been overheating badly.

        "But we are determined to remain at sea for as long as we have to," he added finally, "in the hope that the men can be found safe and well."

        The Kinghorn Lifeboat has now been launched a record amount of times this year with the volunteer crew being called into action on more than 50 occasions.

        Earlier this week RNLI national operations director Michael Vlasto issued a festive appeal for support from communities for their local crews.

        "They give up their time freely 365 days a year and are always ready to risk their lives for others," he said.

        "I would ask people, therefore, to spare a thought for those involved and also consider making a donation to help us continue this life-saving work."

        Mr Vlasto also issued an important appeal for boat owners and others to take time to consider their own safety, always ensuring that their craft are in good order, to carry spare fuel, adequate safety equipment and to make sure that lifejackets are worn at all times.

        The RNLI is a charity funded by voluntary donations and legacies and costs nearly £300,000 a day to run its 231 lifeboat stations around the UK and Republic of Ireland from where, during 2002 they rescued 7365 people, an average of 20 a day.

      RETIRALS AND AWARDS AT KINGHORN (14/11/2003) more...
        This week the crew at Kinghorn had their annual crew dinner, marking the traditional end to the busy summer season.

        As part of this dinner we marked the upcoming retiral of one of our crew, and the recent retiral of another one. Liz Davidson and Dunk Ormiston have given loyal service to the RNLI and we felt we couldn't let them go without a fuss!

        We are hoping they will both stay around to help the rest of us to train and run the station, but as a token of our gratitude for their good service they were presented with the crew's favourite trophy - the inshore lifeboatman.

        Liz, also known as Betty Boiler, was presented with her trophy during the crew meal on Saturday night, but because he was unable to attend, the second award was presented to Dunk Ormiston on Thursday night, when the crew descended on his house un-announced!

        The trophy they received is a fine limited edition sculpture of a modern inshore lifeboatman from Anthony Powell (, and is a fitting tribute to their time on the boat.

      Fifty Shouts for Kinghorn! (10/10/2003) more...
        Thursday evening saw Kinghorn Lifeboat respond to its 50th shout of the year.

        The station is a traditionally busy one, notching up dozens of rescues every summer alone. This year has been the busiest yet, with our fiftieth launch equalling last years' record. With over two months left until the end of the year it looks likely that, once again, Kinghorn will break all previous station records.

        Commenting on the latest news, station official Gordon Tulloch said "It shows that the Firth of Forth is becoming more attractive for leisure users. This year alone we have been called to windsurfers, jetski's, yachts, dinghies, people on rocks - the list is almost endless." Gordon went on to point out that a particularly favourable summer climate and fears about foreign travel were also a contributing factor, with more people opting to spend their leisure time on the shores of the Forth.

        "But the Forth can bite back," said Gordon - a lifeboatman since the mid 1960's - "Only last weekend the boat was called to rescue six people in a sailing dinghy who had been caught out by wind and sea off Edinburgh. Even the summer weather can change unexpectedly."

        The lifeboat is expected to be in action again this weekend when a Royal Navy rescue sea-king from HMS Gannet (Prestwick) lands on the beach before taking part in a training exercise with Kinghorn and North Berwick lifeboats off Kinghorn Bay.

      Lucky Escape For Six In Boat (06/10/2003) more...
        Six people had a lucky escape on Saturday morning when their 12 foot sailing dinghy capsized in moderate winds and seas off the Edinburgh coast.

        The boat, crewed by two adults and four children, had been righted by one of the adults but was swamped. The crew were unable to stabilise the vessel and she ended up capsizing again.

        The Kinghorn Lifeboat was launched and a small motor vessel headed out from Fisherrow to lend assistance to the six, who were drifting in the cool autumn waters off Portobello.

        The small craft crewed by two locals managed to recover all six and take them ashore to waiting ambulances where they were treated for hypothermia. Meanwhile the lifeboat arrived on scene and began the task of righting, bailing out and towing ashore the small wooden dinghy.

        Commenting on the situation, lifeboat helmsman Mike McErlane said "It really was a lucky escape for them. If they had not been spotted quickly enough, and if the local vessel had not come to their aid, the outcome could have been very different." He went on to add that the youngest boy had apparently been the worst affected by hypothermia, but was treated by the ambulance crew.

        "We're trying to figure out how they managed to fit as many people in the small craft," said Mike. "It's a bit like having a re-run of the Krypton Factor!"

        The lifeboat was called out a second time to the area a few hours later, but the report of a yacht in difficulty turned out to be a false alarm.

        More details of these shouts can be found on the station's website -

      Recruitment Drive at Kinghorn Lifeboat Station! (26/08/2003) more...
        Not a butcher, baker nor candlestick maker among them but the current crew of the RNLI's Kinghorn Lifeboat still come from all walks of life.

        But now the men and women who have already responded to nearly 50 call-outs this year alone are looking for new crewmates.

        "With retirals and for other reasons the need to recruit is becoming particularly important," explained crew member Liz Davidson.

        "To that end, therefore, we are holding a special recruitment night at the Lifeboat Station from 7.30 onwards on Thursday, September 11, when we hope as many people as possible will come along to see first-hand what the voluntary work involves.

        "They don't have to be salty sea dogs with Captain Birdseye beards," she added with a smile, "as we really do come from a wide variety of backgrounds.

        "We intend to dispel other common misconceptions that volunteers need a nautical knowledge," she went on, "that they need to have been on a boat before, that they have to be male, a good swimmer, a first-aider, a member of the RNLI or even that they need to know someone in the existing crew.

        "We will underline that first class training will be given, and all that is required is that they live or work in Kinghorn, they are medically fit, have good eyesight, they are between 17 and 44 years old and, most importantly, that they need to be committed to the role.

        "But if anyone cannot make in on September 11," added Liz finally, "they can also contact us by telephone on 01592 890663, by e-mail on, by visiting our website ( or by calling in to the Lifeboat Station any Sunday morning between 10 am and noon when we are undergoing our regular exercising with the boat."

      Another Successful Open Day (28/07/2003) more...
        The open day at Kinghorn was a success, with an initial estimate of £2,100 raised for the RNLI.

        The open day had many events and stalls for people to see and become involved with. The rescue helicopter from HMS Gannet near Prestwick came along to take part in a rescue demonstration with the lifeboat. A local firefighting tug put on a display of water jets, local river pilots came to show off their craft, HMCG, Fire and Ambulance personnel came down with their vehicles and the South Queensferry lifeboat crew put in a surprise appearance with their Atlantic 75 craft.

        There were endless stalls of items for sale, many opportunities to win prizes and even the chance to meet Stormy Stan, the lifeboat mascot.

        The second annual raft race was also a success, with the Ship Tavern (Kinghorn) winning the coveted "Oar" trophy and half day white water rafting prize for the second year running.

        Special thanks are extended to the army of volunteers from Anstruther lifeboat station who helped out the volunteers from our own station and made the day a roaring success.

      Station Prepares For Open Day (17/07/2003) more...
        Kinghorn Lifeboat Station holds its annual open day on Saturday 26th July from 12:30 to 16:00.

        This is a good day out for the family and will include visits from other emergency services - police, fire, coastguard - model boats on show, many prize winning stalls, a raft race, a rescue demonstration and of course tours of the lifeboat and station.

        You can learn about what goes on behind the scenes of the station, how we're funded AND help to raise money at the same time. The children can also meet Stormy Stan - the lifeboat mascot!

        The Royal Navy Rescue helicopter from HMS Gannet - which is featured in the hit TV series Rockface - is due to arrive at 13:30 for a live rescue demonstration with the lifeboat. The raft race starts at 14:00 and all teams are welcome (more details on the website)!

        We had a very successful open day last year and hope to make this one as good if not better! We look forward to seeing you there!

      Lifeboat Stood Down Before Launch at 1:30 am (03/07/2003) more...
        Fife Police requested the lifeboat's assistance with some youths who had stolen some boats from the Aberdour area.

        The crew were asked to find the youths and take them ashore after they had commandeered some small vessels in the area. Just as the crew were preparing to launch HM Coastguard received word from the Police that the youths were safely ashore.

        This follows an earlier shout in which the lifeboat was asked to tow a fishing boat ashore after the skipper had reported fouling his propellor. The fisherman received help from another boat and the lifeboat escorted the pair back to Port Seton harbour.

        July marks the traditional start to Kinghorn Lifeboat Station's "busy season" as leisure and tourist traffic increases greatly. This season usually runs until the end of August.

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