Mallaig Lifeboat
Log for 2004

Information for these pages is sourced from WestWord, local newspaper for West Lochaber

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There was only one call out for the Mallaig Lifeboat during January, although Coxswain Bertie McMinn kept the crew busy with training sorties and delivery of the Mallaig Lifeboat to Buckie shipyard where it is undergoing its annual refit. The Henry Alston Hewat is due back in Mallaig mid-May; in the meantime the RNLI Relief Vessel Fraser Flyer, No. 17.17, is on station at Mallaig.

Wednesday 7th January:
Mallaig Lifeboat launched in poor weather at 13.48 following a report from a member of the public of a canoeist in the water in Knock Bay (Sleat Peninsula). The Mallaig Lifeboat searched the area for about 30 minutes when word came through that the canoeist had managed to get ashore and had not been in any difficulty. Lifeboat returned to station, was refuelled and ready for service at 16.10.

Sunday 1st February:
Mallaig Lifeboat launched at 1448 to go to the assistance of the 12 metre launch Frangag, reportedly taking in water, via a broken seacock. The Frangag, en route from Mallaig to Eigg, was reached by the Lifeboat at 15.06, just as water ingress to the vessel was stopped. The two crew members managed to restart one engine and the vessel was escorted back to Mallaig, through rough seas, by the Lifeboat, arriving back in port at 15.53.

Tuesday 24th February:
the sea state was officially classed as rough (wind NNE force 5-6) when Mallaig Lifeboat launched at 22.57 to go to the assistance of the Buckie registered fishing vessel Adele, which was being towed into harbour by the Campbeltown registered Gleaner. The Adele had suffered gear box failure 20 miles south of Barra Head and had subsequently been towed across the Minch by the Gleaner. Because of the wind and sea conditions at the time, the assistance of the Lifeboat was requested to help the ships gain safe entry into the port and to manoeuvre alongside the harbour. This was done with minimum fuss and the Lifeboat was back on station at 23.57.

Monday 22nd March
Mallaig Lifeboat launched at 02:45 to go to the assistance of the 16.5 metre fishing vesselKristanjo which was experiencing steering difficulties 4 miles SW of Sleat point.
With good visibility and light winds the lifeboat arrived at the casualty at 03:57 and escorted her to just outside Mallaig Harbour. With the fishing boat now tied alongside, the Lifeboat brought the vessel into harbour and alongside the pier. The Lifeboat was refuelled and ready for service at 04:35.

Saturday 24th April:
Stornoway Coastguard requested the Mallaig Lifeboat to transport the Mallaig Fire Brigade to the Isle of Rum where there was a house fire. Lifeboat launched at 17.23 with local police officer and the local fire fighting volunteers who, on arrival at Rum, extinguished the house fire. The house was extensively damaged. Lifeboat returned to base, was refuelled and ready for service at 20.30.

Saturday 8th May:
Mallaig Lifeboat launched at 13.49 to go to the assistance of the BA registered fishing trawler Aries which had lost its propeller. Fifteen minutes from the location of the casualty, an emergency report of a vessel on fire at Bracadale was received, so it was arranged that the FV Golden Isles tow the Aries to the safety of Elgol and the Lifeboat then proceeded to Bracadale.

Saturday 8th May:
Lifeboat set off to investigate the reported sighting of a coaster emitting a lot of smoke and thought to be on fire. On arrival at the search area (15.22hrs) - assisted by the Coastguard and Helicopter - an extensive search was carried out but nothing further seen or found. Lifeboat returned to Station, refuelled and ready for service at 17.45 hours.

Friday 28th May:
The fishing vessel Laur-nic suffering from water ingress to the engine room was being towed across the Minch by the Barra Lifeboat. Mallaig Lifeboat was launched at 11.14 to meet up with the casualty NW of Canna and take over the tow of the trawler to Mallaig Harbour. Tow was duly completed and vessel placed alongside the quay at Mallaig Harbour at 16.45 hrs.

Wednesday 9th June:
Lifeboat launched at 20.45 at the request of the local police to go to the assistance of a local youth who had fallen from the underneath of the road bridge over the River Morar and was now lying on the shoreline. Arriving at the scene within minutes, the Y-boat was launched and after discussions with Police Coastguard, Ambulance and Fire Brigade, the 16 year old youth was taken on board the Y-boat, transported to the opposite shore for medical attention and subsequently transferred by Ambulance to the Belford Hospital in Fort William. Lifeboat refuelled ready for service at 22.20 hours.

Saturday 3rd July:
Lifeboat launched at 15.23 at the request of the Stornoway Coastguard, who reported that the yacht Rhonan Isle, suffering engine failure, was being towed towards Mallaig by another yacht Jubilee. Mallaig Lifeboat took over the towing procedure and safely docked the Rhonan Isle at Mallaig Harbour several minutes after call-out.
The Lifeboat was refuelled and ready for service by 16.20.

Wednesday 7th July:
Good visibility and light NNE winds prevailing when Mallaig Lifeboat launched at 18.35 to go to the assistance of the fishing vessel Stella Maris. The Castlebay registered prawn trawler had a fouled propeller (netting) and was inactive. Lifeboat reached the casualty at 19.17 and the vessel was taken in tow and subsequently safely docked at Mallaig Harbour at 21.59.

Saturday 10th July:
Weather conditions were good when the Coastguard requested the launch of the Lifeboat due to a missing diver near the Isle of Muck. Once underway the Lifeboat was recalled as the missing diver had resurfaced and was OK.

Friday 16th July:
Mallaig Lifeboat launched at 18.55 when Stornoway Coastguard informed the authorities that the 8 metre yacht Kate was dragging anchor in Loch Scresort (Rum) and was in danger of going ashore. On passage to Rum, the island Coastguard team reported that the yacht had managed to put out extra anchors and did not require any further assistance.
Lifeboat returned to Station, was refuelled and ready for service at 20.50.

Saturday 17th July:
It was 20.55 when the Mallaig Lifeboat departed Mallaig Harbour with a Paramedic on board, destination Inverie, where a young girl was suffering severe abdominal pain. After carrying out the medi-vac the Lifeboat was back in Mallaig at 22.10 when the patient was transferred to the Ambulance for onward transmission to the Belford Hospital in Fort William.

Wednesday 21st July:
Flat calm weather conditions prevailed when the Mallaig Lifeboat was launched at 10.02 to escort the 30ft yacht Martha Kathleen into port. The yacht, with four people on board, was experiencing engine problems and didn't want to risk sailing in to Mallaig Harbour - a port the Martha Kathleen had not visited previously. The yacht was escorted in and safely berthed alongside the harbour. Lifeboat refuelled and ready for service at 10.53.

Thursday 22nd July:
Weather air, visibility good, wind SSE 4/5, sea state moderate. Those were the weather conditions prevailing when HM Coastguard alerted the Mallaig Lifeboat team that the 15metre yacht Wild Free had fouled its propeller NE of the Island of Rum. Lifeboat launched at 11.07 and proceeded to the stricken vessel and towed it into safety of Rum Harbour, where it remained at anchor awaiting tidal conditions conducive to clearing the prop.
Lifeboat returned to Station, refuelled and ready for service at 14.40.

Friday 23rd July:
South westerly winds blowing Force 5 proved troublesome to a family of three who sometime earlier had landed near Sleat Point to picnic. Worsening weather meant that they could not re-launch their 16ft motor-boat (Kay Anne). As one of the party was a diabetic and there was no more food the Coastguard requested the launch of the Mallaig Lifeboat at 15.51 to go to the assistance of the stranded family. Arriving at the scene at 16.08 the crew of the Lifeboat launched the Y-boat, picked up the family from the shore and conveyed them to the safety of the Lifeboat. With the family on board and their vessel in tow, the Lifeboat set sail for Mallaig, reaching the harbour at 18.54.

Wednesday 28th July:
The yacht Dutch Maid had hit a submerged object north-east of the Island of Rum and although holed and taking in water the vessel's pumps seemed to be coping. However the Mallaig Lifeboat was launched at 20.25 to escort the 8 metre yacht to the safety of a mainland port. The Mallaig Lifeboat stood by the Casualty until she berthed at Mallaig at 23.10 pending beach inspection the following day.

Monday 2nd August:
Lifeboat launched at 09.27 at the request of the Stornoway Coastguard to go to the assistance of a young boy requiring medical treatment after a fall from a mountain bike in Knoydart. With paramedic on board, Mallaig Lifeboat reached the casualty at 09.41. After initial on-scene treatment by the paramedic, Lifeboat returned to Mallaig with the patient who was subsequently taken to the Belford Hospital in Fort William by the Ambulance Service. Lifeboat refuelled and ready for service at 10.30.

Wednesday 4th August:
With northerly winds blowing form 4-5, Mallaig Lifeboat launched at 1300 to go to the aid of the 7 metre yacht Ruaha-nan-ron, which was experiencing engine problems. Located one mile west of Sleat Point the yacht was reached by the Lifeboat at 13.16 and towed to the safety of Mallaig Harbour where it was berthed at 14.39.

Tuesday 17th August:
With concern growing regarding the whereabouts of the fishing vessel Kathryn Jane - which had not been seen since leaving Mallaig in late July - Stornoway Coastguard requested a shoreline search at Loch Brittle (the west side of Skye) after nets and fishing gear had been located on the seabed close by and which may have come from the missing vessel.
Arriving at the search area at 13.05 - some 50 minutes after launch - the Lifeboat crew carried out an extensive shoreline search from Loch Brittle to Neist Point but no conclusive evidence was found. Lifeboat returned to station, refuelled and ready for service at 00.15 on Wednesday 18th August.

Wednesday 8th September:
Mallaig Lifeboat launched at 15.35 (at the request of Stornoway Coastguard) to go to the assistance of an Inverie resident injured in an explosion on board his boat. Lifeboat proceeded to Inverie where, on arrival at the incident scene (15.50), the casualty was found to have multiple injuries. After initial treatment and care from the Lifeboat crew, the casualty was taken on board the Lifeboat before transfer to the Coastguard helicopter who transported the injured person to hospital.
N.B. This was not a fire explosion, but a pressurised gas bottle (having had its Regulator top knocked off by a mooring chain) striking the casualty!

Saturday 11th September:
Gale force winds 7 - 8 westerly winds with nil visibility and a 3 metre swell were the prevailing weather conditions when at 23.28 the Mallaig Lifeboat was launched to go to the assistance of the 10 metre yacht Mistress - dragging her anchor chain and in danger of going ashore on to the rocks in Loch Moidart. On leaving the harbour, the Lifeboat personnel were informed by HM Coastguard in Stornoway that the vessel was indeed hitting the rocks and the person on board was taking to his dinghy, (there was to be no more radio contact with the casualty.) On arriving at the mouth of Loch Moidart conditions were very soon zero visibility, strong winds, driving rain and, with no lights on the shore to take bearings, it was a case of proceeding with caution, edging past rocks and shallows into the Loch and to the search area around a small island north of Castle Tioram. On rounding the point of this island a faint light was seen and in the beam of the searchlight a mast could clearly be seen. Dropping anchor, the Y-boat was deployed to investigate. The casualty was found in his dinghy with the forward sponson burst and tied to the mast of his vessel which was now under water. Casualty was taken on board the Lifeboat and treated for mild hypothermia - it transpired he had entered the water at 23.30 - at 0400 hrs. Great care was required to exit the Loch and a failure to the compass binnacle only added to the trying conditions being experienced by the Coxswain and his crew. The Lifeboat arrived back in Mallaig at 05.40 where the casualty was taken to the Fishermen's Mission by Coastguard personnel. Lifeboat refuelled, ready for service at 05.55.

Friday 17th September:
Launch occurred at 15.10 to go to the assistance of the salmon well-boat Ronja Christopher which was lying off Mallaig unable to manoeuvre owing to a mechanical problem. Lifeboat escorted vessel into a safe berth at the Harbour and was back on station by 15.55.

Sunday 26th September:
Mallaig Lifeboat crew were alerted by Stornoway Coastguard that a canoe had capsized at Lochailort and that two men were in the water. Launch was cancelled ten minutes later (10.55) as canoeists were able to reach shore and safety.

The Lifeboat was launched at 15.35 to go to the assistance of a mountain rescue team stranded at Loch Coruisk after rescuing an injured climber. With the Coastguard unable to fly due to weather conditions the Lifeboat proceeded to the pickup point, reaching the climbers at 16.30. picking up the party they transported them to Armadale before arriving back at station, refuelled and ready for service by 18.15.

Monday 27th September:
The weather was good when Mallaig Lifeboat was launched at 12.08 to go to the assistance of a female walker who had suffered a suspected broken ankle whilst walking in the hills around Loch Coruisk in Skye. The Lifeboat conveyed a 4 man Coastguard Rescue Team to the scene and they, with 2 Lifeboat personnel, went ashore to tend to the casualty. After initial first aid at the scene the casualty was stretchered off the mountain down to the shoreline, to the Lifeboat and back to Mallaig and the waiting ambulance. Lifeboat refuelled and ready for service at 16.10.

Friday 22nd October:
Lifeboat launched at 14.11, with ambulance personnel on board, to go to the assistance of a female resident of Knoydart who had become ill Arriving at the casualty at 14.32, first aid was administered by ambulance personnel and patient transported to Mallaig where an ambulance was waiting to take her to hospital. Lifeboat refuelled, ready for service at 15.50 hours.

Monday 25th October
A broken down salt-water pump was causing problems for the fishing vessel Our Pride which was experiencing difficulties in its approach to Mallaig Harbour. Lifeboat launched at 11.03 and escorted vessel safely into harbour by noon.

Tuesday 16th November
Mallaig Lifeboat launched at 21.55 to go to the aid of an Inverie resident who was suffering from chest pains. After initial treatment by the Doctor and Ambulance personnel, the patient - who had been conveyed to Mallaig by the Lifeboat - was transferred to Fort William's Belford Hospital by the Scottish Ambulance Service. Lifeboat refuelled and ready for service at 23.00 hours.

Thursday 16th December:
Mallaig Lifeboat Henry Alston Hewat launched at 09.27 at the request of the Stornoway Coastguard who had received a report of a small cabin cruiser adrift off Isle Oronsay, Skye. Although there was no-one on board and no lives were in immediate danger, the vessel was considered a navigational hazard, hence the lifeboat launch in rough seas and wind force 7. On passage to the recovery area, it was reported that the vessel had been recovered by another boat in the area so Lifeboat returned to station, refuelled ready for service at 11 a.m.

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