Mallaig Lifeboat
Log for 2013

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

There were no callouts in the first 10 weeks of 2013.

Saturday 16th March:
At the request of HM Coastguard, Mallaig Lifeboat was launched at 14.18 hrs to go to the assistance of the 8 metre prawn creel vessel Grimsay Isle. The fishing vessel, suffering from a fouled propeller was reached only seven minutes after the call out, and a tow rope was quickly established enabling the Lifeboat to tow the Grimsay Isle back to Mallaig, berthing her there at 15.06 hrs. The two man crew of the creel vessel were unharmed.

Monday 18th March:
Lifeboat launched at 05.00 hrs when tasked by Stornoway Coastguard to go to the assistance of the Mallaig based fishing vessel Amethyst, grounded on a reef just off the Point of Sleat. Other vessels responded to Amethyst's request for assistance, including the Ronja Commander, which launched her Fast Recovery Craft, recovering the three man crew of the fishing boat from the liferaft, which was still attached to the Amethyst.
The crew were transferred to the Lifeboat, which was on scene some fifteen minutes after leaving Mallaig Harbour. With the Lifeboat in attendance, the other vessels which had responded were now free to continue on their way. Once it was established that Amethyst was not taking in water and that the crew were not in need of medical attention, the decision to tow the vessel back to Mallaig was taken when the fishing boat floated free of the reef on the rising tide. With the pump on board as a precaution, Amethyst was towed back to Mallaig by the Lifeboat, arriving at the port at 07.40 hrs.

Wednesday 20th March:
It was a clear frosty morning when at 02.00 hrs the Mallaig Lifeboat and its Y-boat searched in and about the Harbour for a missing male who might have fallen in the water. The Harbour Master inspected CCTV footage and pinpointed the missing person down at the ferry pier. However, the missing person was found on board a fishing vessel and, with the matter now in police hands, all search parties were stood down. Y-boat recovered to Lifeboat which was back at the pontoon berth at 04.00 hrs, ready for service.

Sunday 24th March:
Lifeboat launched at 22.28 hrs on a frosty moonlit night to medivac a young army cadet from the Ardintigh Outdoors Centre, Loch Nevis, who was suffering from abdominal pains. Arriving on scene at 22.48 hrs, the Lifeboat launched its Y-boat to get access to the casualty, who was able to walk to the jetty and board the Y-boat. The Lifeboat was soon under way back to Mallaig, arriving there at 23.45 hrs where the cadet and one of his officers were soon on their way to the Belford Hospital via the local Ambulance Service.
Lifeboat refuelled and ready for service at 23.45 hrs.

Friday 29th March:
At the request of Stornoway Coastguard, the Mallaig Lifeboat was launched at 13.40 hrs to transfer the local Coastguard team to Inverie to search for a missing hill walker. Lifeboat was tasked to carry out a search of the north shore of Loch Nevis and as far as Sourlies Bothy in Upper Loch Nevis. With nothing found, the Lifeboat was relocated to Barrisdale in Loch Hourn to pick up the Coastguard team, and whilst waiting their arrival the Lifeboat searched the upper reaches of Loch Hourn again with no success.
After boarding the Coastguard team at Barrisdale, the Lifeboat also picked up two Police Officers and their search dogs who had walked in from Kinloch Hourn as part of the shore search. Police and dogs were dropped off at Kinloch Hourn and Lifeboat returned to Mallaig Harbour, refuelled and ready for service at 20.00 hrs.

Thursday 4th April:
Launched at the request of the Stornoway Coastguard as part of an ongoing Search for a missing hillwalker, the Lifeboat crew was asked to search the woodland above the shore at the entrance to Loch Hourn. Aerial reconnaissance indicated what could be red clothing in amongst the trees on the shoreline but Lifeboat crew found only two creel buoys that someone had tied to a tree above the shore.
With nothing else to be seen in the area, the crew returned with the buoys and, with no further tasking from the Coastguard the Lifeboat, having set out on the mission at 11.15hrs, returned to station, was refuelled and ready for service at 12.50 hrs.

Friday 5th April:
Lifeboat launched at 17.0Ohrs to go to the assistance of the yacht Janet MacArthur grounded on a reef in Sandaig Bay, Knoydart. On scene were the local passenger ferries Venturer and Meri 3 and a partner yacht, Sleat Queen, which was attempting to pu11 the casualty free. On its arrival on scene the tow was transferred to the Lifeboat, but after a few attempts to pull the 8 metre yacht free, plus the fact that the tide was on the ebb, it was decided to abandon any further attempt to pull her off the reef.
The Y-boat was launched and transferred four of the yacht crew to the Lifeboat but the yacht skipper remained on board and, with the help of the two man crew of the Y-boat, shut off all valves and outlets on board the Janet MacArthur. As the tide ebbed, the list was monitored and a bag of spare sails was stuffed under the bi1ge to act as a cushion between the hull and the rock. lt was also agreed to deploy the Lifeboat's anchor to act as a kedge on the yacht broadside to try to hold her up in case the list became so severe and water entered the cockpit. Fortunately, as the anchor was deployed, the casualty settled onto the reef. After discussions with the charterers, it was decided to leave the anchor attached to the casualty, and the Lifeboat returned to Mallaig, refuelled and was ready for service at 19.00hrs.
In the early hours of Saturday morning, the yacht Janet MacArthur floated off the reef unassisted and returned to Armadale for haul-out and inspection. The Lifeboat's anchor was then recovered.

Tuesday 9th April:
The wind force was a gentle breeze at 10.15hrs when the Mallaig Lifeboat was launched to assist in the search off the island of Skye for a missing hill walker. After searching for several hours to no avail, the Lifeboat returned to station and was ready for service at 15.30 hrs.

Saturday 27th April:
Lifeboat launched at the request of Stornoway Coastguard at 21.08hrs to go to the assistance of an 8 metre RIB which had shipped a couple of large waves while en route north to the Kyle Rhea Narrows. Fortunately the RIB had not lost power and was able to continue slowly northwards, but the skipper had requested an escort from the Lifeboat until he was up through the Narrows. As the Lifeboat proceeded north towards the casualty, it soon became apparent that the RIB, maintaining a steady 8 - 9 knots, would be nearly through the Narrows before the Lifeboat was on scene. Consequently the Kyle Lifeboat was launched to meet the casualty and escort the RIB to safety.
Mallaig Lifeboat was stood down and returned to base, being refuelled and ready for service at 23.05 hrs.

Sunday 28th April:
Following a request from Ambulance Control in Inverness, the Mallaig Lifeboat was launched at 00.36 hrs and proceeded to Inverie on a thoroughly miserable night with driving rain and strong southerly winds, to medivac a female patient who had slipped and dislocated her knee whilst spectating at the Knoydart Music Festival. Once alongside Inverie pier, the stretcher, Etinox and First Aid Pack were quickly transported to the campsite, but on arrival the crew learned that whilst the casualty was awaiting assistance her knee had re-aligned and, although sore, she was able to hobble to the landrover to be transported down to the pier and the awaiting Lifeboat.
The casualty (accompanied by her husband) was conveyed to Mallaig by the Lifeboat, transferred to the waiting Ambulance and taken to Fort William's Belford Hospital for treatment. Lifeboat ready for service at 02.00 hrs.

Monday 6th May:
A request from Police, via the Coastguard and Local Operations Manager, for the Lifeboat to undertake a search of the Scavaig area of Skye for a missing hillwalker was actioned at 13.05 hrs with the launch of the lifeboat. The hillwalker was now a month overdue and, as part of stepping down the search, the Mallaig Lifeboat was tasked to search - one final time - from Soay Sound round Loch Scavaig to the jetty at Elgol. The Y-boat with two crew on board searched caves, gullies, beaches and islands in the area.
With nothing found, the Y-boat was brought back on board and the Lifeboat returned to base, refuelled and ready for service at 17 30hrs.

Thursday 9th May:
The Mallaig Lifeboat was launched at 08.30 hrs to escort the fishing vessel Norlan to port, The skipper of the 25 metre Banff registered trawler was concerned that the vessel, with six of a crew, was going to run out of fuel just at the harbour entrance, so the Lifeboat took up station just off Norlan's beam as she approached the harbour and shadowed her into the Outer Harbour, docking safely there at 08.45 hrs. Lifeboat berthed and ready for service at 09.00 hrs.

Thursday 13th June:
Lifeboat launched at 15.20 hrs to go to the assistance of the yacht Janjo of Arisaig, grounded on a rock whilst departing Isle Ornsay. When the Lifeboat arrived on scene at 15.45 hrs, Janjo was stuck fast in the reef with a slight list to starboard. A line was attached from the Lifeboat to the yacht and after consultation with the skipper it was decided that the best course of action would be to wait for the tide to flood. After a couple of hours, it was clear to all that the 10 metre yacht would float free on the rising tide so the rope was cast off and, with a gentle nudge from a local chartered RIB, Janjo of Arisaig came free. With no sign of water ingress or prop damage, Janjo proceeded under her own power to Mallaig. Lifeboat refuelled and ready for service at 18.15 hrs.

Sunday 7th July:
It was a beautiful morning when at 07.40 hrs the Mallaig Lifeboat was launched to go to the assistance of a 10 metre yacht called Curadh suffering engine problems south of Mallaig. With no engine and no wind to sail back to Mallaig, the Curadh had requested Lifeboat assistance via Stornoway Coastguard. Once alongside the yacht (at 07.55), two of the technically minded Lifeboat crew boarded Curadh and investigated the engine problem. After bleeding the fuel system the engine restarted. As a precaution the yacht returned to Mallaig under her own steam to see if the problem would recur, but with all systems functioning the three man crew of the Curadh decided to try again and at 08.50 hrs departed Mallaig to continue south.
Lifeboat refuelled and ready for service at 08.40 hrs.

Monday 15th July:
At the request of the Mallaig Harbourmaster via the Launching Authority, the Lifeboat was launched at 16.15 hrs to assist in the berthing of the deep water trawler Aquarius which had suffered complete engine failure. The towing vessel Adventurer II had towed Aquarius all the way from Rockall but was unable to enter Mallaig Harbour due to its deep draught and state of the tide. With Adventurer II at the harbour entrance, the tow rope was handed over to the Lifeboat for the last mile into harbour. With gentle tugs on the tow rope, Aquarius glided nicely onto the end of the fish pier and was made secure alongside at 17.10 hrs.
Lifeboat ready for service at 17.30 hrs.

Wednesday 17th July:
Mallaig Lifeboat tasked by Stornoway Coastguard at 21.30hrs to convey an injured person from the Isle of Rum to the mainland. The casualty had suffered a badly lacerated hand which required hospital treatment. As it was a fairly calm evening the Lifeboat only took thirty five minutes to arrive at Rum and, with the casualty awaiting on the pier side, was soon heading back to Mallaig. Arriving there at 22.35 hrs, the casualty was handed over to Ambulance personnel for onward conveyance to the Belford Hospital in Fort William.

Friday 19th July:
Mallaig's Severn Class Lifeboat was launched at 17.33 hrs at the request of Stornoway Coastguard to go to the assistance of the yacht Free Will aground in the entrance to Kinlochmoidart. Whilst entering the channel to Kinlochmoidart, the skipper of Free Will navigated the wrong side of a large rock, found himself in a tight corner and was then quickly swept onto a flat reef by the ebbing tide. Fortunately weather conditions were benign and the yacht soon settled on the reef.
When the Mallaig Lifeboat arrived on scene (18.20 hrs), the 9 metre yacht was high and dry with its two occupants and their dog on board other craft that had reacted to the call for assistance. With the yacht's anchor reset, it was agreed that nothing could be done but await the turn of the tide in the early hours. The Lifeboat then transported the two casualties and their dog to Mallaig for an overnight stay. A local fisherman at Ardtoe agreed to monitor Free Will's refloating in the early hours and this he did, taking the boat to Ardtoe once it had floated free to await collection by her owners.

Monday 22nd July:
Stornoway Coastguard requested the launch of the Mallaig Lifeboat to go to the assistance of the yacht Autumn Child aground in Glenuig Bay. Whilst entering Glenuig Bay to moor for the night, the 9 metre yacht struck a submerged rock and became hard fast on a falling tide. When the Lifeboat arrived on scene at 21.15 hrs some thirty minutes after launch, the two man crew had taken to their inflatable but, with the tide falling, it was not long before Autumn Child listed over onto the reef at a very precarious angle. The yacht slipped into a narrow cleft and was literally being kept afloat by the weight of her keel. Her bilge was unsupported, with a gap of 2 - 3 feet to the nearest hard. It was obvious that the yacht would flood through the cockpit on the next rising tide so a plan to prevent this was hatched.
An 'eureka' moment from one of the Lifeboat crew then followed, suggesting the deflation of the large Avon fenders and positioning them under the bilge, making them secure under and over the hull. The fenders were carefully set in position using the Y-boat oars and with the ropes gingerly passed over and under so as not to upset Autumn Child's list. Once in position, the fenders were re-inflated using the Y-boat's footpump. As a further precaution, a search of a Glenuig resident's garden resulted in the crew acquiring three fence posts by kind permission of the villager who must have been surprised to find three RNLI crew members at his door at half past midnight!

Saturday 3rd August:
Mallaig Lifeboat launched at 12.45 hrs to go to the assistance of a passenger on board the ferry Sheerwater who had fallen and sustained a nasty wound to the head. The Sheerwater had continued to the Isle of Eigg seeking medical assistance from the island's Doctor. The Doctor attended to the female casualty and requested that the patient be transferred to the mainland to receive hospital care. The Lifeboat reached Eigg at 13.16.hrs and the casualty was then transferred on board the Lifeboat into the care of a paramedic crewman. Once the wound was re-dressed and the patient made comfortable, the Lifeboat proceeded back to Mallaig. Arriving there at 14.45 hrs, the patient was handed over to the Ambulance-team and taken to the Belford Hospital in Fort William for further treatment.
Lifeboat refuelled and ready for service at 14.45 hrs.

Tuesday 20th August:
At the request of Stornoway Coastguard, the Mallaig Lifeboat was launched at 08.15 hrs to go to the assistance of the yacht Chablis in Loch Slapin, Isle of Skye. Whilst departing the Loch, the yacht's propeller fouled on an old creel end and, with steering limited due to the amount of rope taken into the propeller, the skipper of the 9 metre yacht sought assistance. Arriving on scene at 09.15 hrs, the Lifeboat quickly established a tow line and towed the yacht into Mallaig Marina. Local divers were on hand to free Chablis' prop and rudder.
Lifeboat refuelled and ready for service at 11.30 hrs.

Wednesday 21st August:
Weather was calm at 08.14 hrs when Lifeboat was launched at the request of the Coastguard to medivac a resident from Tarbet, Loch Nevis, who was suffering severe stomach pains. Arriving on scene at 08.37, the Lifeboat was met by the casualty who was able to board a small dinghy escorted by two neighbours and was quickly transferred on board. On arrival at Mallaig at 08.55, the casualty was handed over to the care of the local Ambulance staff and taken on to the Belford Hospital in Fort William for treatment. Lifeboat refuelled and ready for service at 09.00 hrs.

Friday 23rd August:
Whilst the crew was cleaning the Lifeboat wheelhouse in preparation for the Station's Gala Day, a conversation between a yacht and the Coastguard was heard on the Lifeboat's VHF. The yacht had been leaving Arisaig Harbour via the South Channel but had grounded on a reef on a falling tide. Seconds later the pagers went off and at 10.00 hrs the Lifeboat was underway for Arisaig Harbour. Arriving on scene within 35 minutes, the Lifeboat found the Emma Louise listing to starboard on the reef and, although Arisaig Marine's Sheerwater was in attendance, it was unable to approach the stranded yacht.
The Lifeboat's Y-boat was launched and two crewmen went across to pick up the sole occupant of the 8 metre yacht and deliver him safely on board the Lifeboat. Although some ingress of water was noted, the way that the yacht was at rest on the reef precluded any danger of the vessel flooding, so the Lifeboat moved off to deeper water to await low water. Once the tide had gone back, the crew returned with the Lifeboat's large fenders and placed them underneath the yacht's bilge to assist refloating when the tide flooded later in the evening. Lifeboat prepared to return to base.

Friday 23rd August:
With the crew returning to the Lifeboat in the Y-boat after dealing with the Emma Louise, another yacht was observed navigating out through the South Channel at Arisaig at dead low water springs. Minutes later the yacht Suhyra was seen to come to a standstill on the sand bar that crosses the South Channel. The Lifeboat crew sped over in the Y-boat to assist but fortunately there was just enough water for the yacht to remain upright. After about 30 minutes the tide began to flood and the yacht floated out over the bar.
The Y-boat crew returned to the Lifeboat which then returned to station at Mallaig pending an evening return to aid the re-floating of Emma Louise.

Friday 23rd August:
Returning to Arisaig Harbour at 18.30 hrs, the Y-boat was launched and two crew members and the skipper of Emma Louise re-boarded the yacht. All compartments were checked for water ingress but with none found and, with the help of the fenders that were placed underneath the hull, Emma Louise floated free of the reef. The Lifeboat then escorted the yacht into Arisaig Harbour before returning to base, being refuelled and ready for service at 21.35 hrs.

Thursday 29th August:
The Lifeboat was paged for immediate launch by Stornoway Coastguard at 03.25 hrs to go to the assistance of a vessel aground on Sgeir Dearg at the entrance to Mallaig Harbour. On scene at 03.35 to find the 8 metre vessel Gannick III on the reef and rocking about quite violently in the breaking swell. The sole occupant of the vessel was quickly brought across to the Lifeboat by the Y-boat and the Gannick III was then dislodged from the reef by the swell and re-floated herself. The Y-boat crew boarded the casualty and with the engine still running proceeded into the harbour to the Marina. Once the Lifeboat came alongside at the Marina, the Gannick III was pumped dry and checked over for water ingress. With the skipper back on board and no serious damage to report, the Lifeboat returned to her own pontoon at 04.45.

Monday 2nd September:
Coastguard requested a lifeboat launch at 19.05 hrs to go to the assistance of a woman who was suffering from suspected broken ribs, on the Isle of Eigg. Lifeboat arrived on scene at 19.40 hrs and the patient was helped on board for onward transportation to Mallaig where she was handed over to the waiting Ambulance personnel.
Lifeboat refuelled and ready for service at 20.55 hrs.

Tuesday 3rd September:
Lifeboat tasked to the Outer Harbour at 08.43 hrs to assist in recovery of crewman who had fallen in the hold of the cargo ship Fame and was suffering from a leg injury. A stretcher and crewmen boarded the vessel with the casualty eventually being lifted ashore by ambulance and coastguard personnel. Lifeboat retrieved crewmen and stretcher and returned to station at 10.00 hrs.

Saturday 7th September:
The Mallaig Lifeboat was on show at the Kyle of Lochalsh Marine Day when Stornoway Coastguard contacted the Lifeboat to assist with the medivac of a woman on the Isle of Eigg who was suffering from a dislocated shoulder.
Lifeboat made way for Eigg but was soon stood down as casualty was being taken to the mainland by another vessel. Lifeboat returned to Mallaig, refuelled and made ready for service at 17.10hrs.

Tuesday 17th September:
Mallaig Lifeboat tasked by Stornoway Coastguard at 14.08 hrs to go to the assistance of kayakers in Loch nan Uamh. A telephone call from a member of the public reported that four kayakers were experiencing difficulties off the shore at Smirisary to the west of Glenuig.
Whilst the Lifeboat was on passage to the scene, information received from a crewmember regarding the fact that a local kayak trainer was conducting an exercise in the area was relayed. Further checks found this to be the case and the Lifeboat was stood down. What the member of public probably saw was the team carrying out Eskimo rolls and being assisted by other team members. A false alarm with good intent.
Lifeboat arrived back on station at 14.50 hrs.

Saturday 5th October:
Lifeboat launched at 10.00 hrs at the behest of the Stornoway Coastguard to go to the assistance of the creel boat Sunseeker. The 8 metre boat had lost engine power whilst fishing in the Loch Einort area of West Skye. Being close to shore, Sunseeker's skipper issued a distress call and deployed the anchor, stopping the boat from drifting towards the shore. The Small Isles ferry Lochnevis diverted to the casualty location and stood by until the Lifeboat arrived. The local fishing vessel Guide Us also proceeded to the casualty.
As the Lifeboat reached Sunseeker the skipper managed to restart the engine, but only travelled a short distance before the engine failed again. Now on scene. the Lifeboat quickly took the creel boat in tow. Lochnevis and Guide Us were released to continue on their way and Sunseeker was soon safely on its moorings at Portnalong.
Lifeboat returned to Mallaig, was refuelled and ready for service at 15.00 hrs.

Sunday 6th October:
Whilst involved in an operation at the entrance to Loch Hourn, Kyle of Lochalsh Inshore Lifeboat responded to a distress call from a dive vessel aground at Airor, Knoydart. Quickly on scene, the Kyle Lifeboat aided the casualty, recovering its crew of three, but it was unable to pull the vessel clear. Kyle Lifeboat requested the larger Severn Class Mallaig Lifeboat to assist in towing the dive vessel clear of the shore. Mallaig Lifeboat was subsequently launched at 09.59 hrs but whilst on passage to the scene the dive vessel broke free from the shore, was quickly taken in tow by the Kyle Lifeboat and placed on her mooring at Airor. As a precaution, Mallaig Lifeboat stood by to assist if necessary but with the casualty back on its mooring and the crew back on board and none the worse for their ordeal, the Kyle Lifeboat resumed its previous tasking and the Mallaig Lifeboat returned to station, ready for service at 11.00hrs.

Wednesday 30th October:
Mallaig Lifeboat was launched at 20.45hrs, tasked by Stornoway Coastguard to go to the assistance of a yacht, stranded on a sandbank in the Loch Hourn area. After an extensive search of the area no sign of any vessel was found. Lifeboat was stood down at 23.00hrs and returned to port where it was refuelled and ready for service at 23.30hrs.
The Coastguard continued with their own enquiries regarding the call out.

Wednesday 6th November:
At the behest of Stornoway Coastguard, the Mallaig Lifeboat was launched at 14.35hrs to go to the aid of a vessel called Catch 22 in trouble at the entrance to Loch nan Uamh. The 6 metre velvet crabber had a fouled propeller and was being held off the rocks in amongst the Borrodale islands by its anchor.
Two Irish pelagic trawlers, Carmona and Loran on passage south diverted towards the casualty, as did the potter Jacqualine.
With the Lifeboat making good time towards the casualty, the trawlers were released to continue on their passage south and it was reported that Jaqualine was now on scene and awaiting the Lifeboat's arrival.
On scene at 15.15 hrs, the Lifeboat quickly secured a tow rope to Catch 22 and commenced towing the vessel to Glenuig Bay. Once in the bay, Jacqualine took over the tow for the final few yards to the mooring. With Catch 22 now safely on its mooring, the Lifeboat returned to port, was refuelled and ready for service at 16.40 hrs.

Thursday 21st November:
Lifeboat was launched at 17.20hrs to transport local Fire Brigade personnel to a remote location on the Knoydart peninsula to deal with a chimney fire at a residential property there.
Lifeboat was back on its pontoon and ready for service at 1900 hrs.

There were no further callouts for the Mallaig Lifeboat during 2013. The busiest month was July (8 callouts).