Mallaig Lifeboat
Log for 2014

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

Thursday 2nd January:
Lifeboat launched at 02.55hrs to convey Police personnel to the Isle of Eigg to investigate the sudden death of an islander there. Once Police had concluded their investigation, the body was taken on board the Lifeboat and subsequently back to the mainland. Lifeboat arrived back at Mallaig at 07.40 hrs, refuelled and read: for service at 08.00 hrs.

Friday 10th January:
At the request of the Stornoway Coastguard, Mallaig Lifeboat was launched at 20.00 hrs to go to the assistance of the fishing trawler Guide Us which had suffered complete engine failure 1 mile north of Isle Ornsay Lighthouse. The skipper of the fishing vessel had managed to alert the Coastguard to his predicament before he lost communications due to low battery power, but fortunately the weather was fairly calm with a full moon illuminating the area much to everyone’s advantage.
Utilising radar and Searchlight, the darkened vessel was located at 20.30 hrs and a towline quickly established. Lifeboat berthed the Guide Us alongside Mallaig Pier at 22.30 hrs.

Tuesday 28th January:
Lifeboat launched at 23.20 hrs to medivac a patient from the Knoydart Peninsula. A 45 year old male was experiencing chest pains at his lodgings in Airor on the north side of the peninsula. On scene at 23.40 hrs, the Lifeboat was unable to berth at Airor Pier due to the low tida conditions. Consequently the Y-boat was launched with three crew proceeding ashore to recover the casualty, who was able to walk down the beach and board the Y-boat.
Once casualty and Y-boat were taken on board, the Lifeboat set off for Mallaig, berthing there at 00.10hrs on Wednesday morning. The casualty was handed over to the awaiting Ambulance team for onward transmission to the Belford Hospital.

Sunday 13th April:
Lifeboat launched at the request of the Stornoway Coastguard at 09.50hrs to go to the aid of two construction workers who had sustained eye injuries from metal swarf the previous day. Attempts to flush out the swarf with eye wash proved unsuccessful so it was agreed with hospital and doctors that the two workers be taken to the mainland for proper medical treatment before any irreversible damage was done.
The Lifeboat docked at Muck at 10.40hrs and the casualties and companions were quickly boarded with the assistance of local coastguard and the Lifeboat returned to Mallaig, docking at 11.30hrs. Casualties handed over to the care of the local Ambulance.
Lifeboat refuelled and ready for service at 11.40hrs.

Monday 21st April:
It was a clear, calm and starry evening when the Mallaig Lifeboat was launched at 22.20hrs to go to the assistance of the deep water trawler Adventurer INS8. Not long after departing Mallaig Harbour and heading for the fishing grounds, Adventurer experienced engine problems. Needing to return to the port. Adventurer requested - via the Coastguard - Lifeboat assistance to escort her back to Mallaig. On scene at 22.30 hrs the Lifeboat quickly secured a tow rope, and the journey back to the safety of Mallaig Harbour commenced. Lifeboat towed the Inverness registered trawler into the Outer Harbour, safely berthing the Adventurer alongside at 00.15 hrs.
Lifeboat ready for service at 00.30 hrs.

Sunday 4th May:
Mallaig Lifeboat launched at 15.31 hrs to assist the 12 metre yacht Ocean Lord into the safety of Mallaig Harbour. The yacht had sailed from Canna but approaching Mallaig Ocean Lord's engine failed to start due to a flat battery. With the wind almost non existent. the skipper of the yacht had contacted Stornoway Coastguard requesting assistance. A short trip ensued for the Lifeboat to the entrance of the harbour. Ocean Lord was soon alongside the Lifeboat and inbound for the Mallaig Marina.
Lifeboat ready for service at 1600 hrs.

Monday 12th May:
Having received a request from the NHS 24 duty doctor and Fort William Belford Hospital, HM Coastguard duly requested the assistance of Mallaig Lifeboat to evacuate a 46 year old man with an arm injury from his yacht Varis moored in Mallaig Harbour. Lifeboat launched at 04.35 hrs and duly conveyed casualty from his anchored yacht to the Lifeboat pontoon where he was handed over to the local Ambulance personnel.
Lifeboat ready for service at 04.45 hrs.

Saturday 17th May:
At the request of Stornoway Coastguard, the Mallaig Lifeboat was launched at 20.35 hrs to go to the assistance of a 70 year old lady who had fallen and was suffering from breathing problems and a possible broken rib. The lady, a guest at a private function on the Isle of Muck, was already nursing a broken arm so had been unable to cushion her fall and had landed heavily.
On arriving at Muck at 21.35 hrs. the Lifeboat was precluded from berthing at the slipway because of the exceptionally high tide. Moored ultimately to the outer dolphin of the pier. the Lifeboat crew and medics decided that the best course of action would be to bring the casualty onboard on the Lifeboat's stretcher. With the local Coastguard team and crew. a quick and effortless transfer ensued and, with the lady made comfortable (and being consoled by her husband), the Lifeboat departed Muck at 21.45 hrs. On passage the casualty was constantly monitored by the medics and at 22.35 hrs the Lifeboat was moored at Mallaig Harbour and the casualty transferred to the Ambulance crew for the onward journey to Fort William's Belford Hospital.
Lifeboat refuelled and ready for service at 22.50 hrs.

Thursday 22nd May:
Weather cloudy, visibility good, swell 1 metre. breeze strong: those were the weather conditions at 16.32 hrs when the Mallaig Lifeboat was launched to go to the aid of the yacht Odyssey of Sleat which had gone aground on a falling tide in Loch Scavaig. Isle of Skye. The 10 metre yacht was hard aground and heeled over. Four of the eight crew were transferred ashore to the climbers' bothy at the head of the loch, the other four remained onboard making the vessel secure. Once on scene (17.28 hrs) the Lifeboat crew launched the Y-boat and inspected the grounded yacht for any damage, but all that could be found were mere scratches to the keel and the rudder.
Owing to the windy nature of the area - being directly below the mighty Cuillin Range - the Lifeboat anchored off the grounded yacht to await the flood tide. The four crew men ashore were brought on board the Lifeboat by the Y-boat and given hot drinks and food. As the flood tide advanced. a tow rope was established between the vessels and at about 00.30hrs the casualty floated free of the reef and was brought alongside the Lifeboat so the crew could rejoin their colleagues. With everything in order. the skipper of Odyssey of Sleat decided to return to Armadale where the charterers were waiting to inspect the vessel. With no further assistance required, the Lifeboat returned to Mallaig, was refuelled and ready for service at 02.16 hrs.

Monday 26th May:
Mallaig Lifeboat launched at 11.50hrs to go to the assistance of the Glen Tarsan aground on a reef on the north coast of Rum. As a precaution. the passengers were transferred ashore to a beach by the Glen Tarsan's crew in their tender. Once on scene (12.40 hrs) the Lifeboat waited in excellent weather conditions and let the tide refloat the motor cruiser. The crew of the Glen Tarsan returned to the beach and brought the passengers back to the Lifeboat. At approx. 13.30hrs the Glen Tarsan became free ofthe reef so the Lifeboat set off to accompany the vessel to Mallaig. To everyone‘s delight, as both casualty and the Lifeboat departed the area, a large pod of common dolphins - at least 200 strong - decided to entertain.
Glen Tarsan and Lifeboat docked at Mallaig at 16.00hrs. Lifeboat ready for service at 16.20 hrs.

Friday 30th May:
Via the Harbour Master. the trawler Ocean Challenge requested an escort into Mallaig Harbour by the Lifeboat. The fishing vessel Replenish had the Ocean Challenge under tow and was proceeding to Mallaig as Ocean Challenge was suffering from losing main engine oil. Skipper agreed to restart his engine for the last half mile imo the harbour with the Lifeboat in close escort. This was duly carried and the 18 metre trawler succeeded in berthing in the Outer Harbour under her own power. Lifeboat ready for service at 14.35 hrs.

Tuesday 24th€˜ June:
Launched by Stornoway Coastguard to the assistance of a microlight aircraft believed to have ditched in the area of Morar Estuary at 12.35 hrs. On arrival at Morar Estuary the Lifeboat was notified by the Coastguard that the microlight had in fact ditched in Loch An Nostarie a couple of miles inland from the Estuary. Thankfully the pilot had not been injured and was able to swim to the lochside where he was assisted by some hillwalkers who had seen him ditch.

Thursday 26th June:
Launched to the assistance of the fishing vessel Vikingborg by Stornoway Coastguard at 00.30 hrs. Whilst carrying out fishing operations at the back of the Isle of Rum, Vikingborg's net had fouled the propeller. After many unsuccessful attempts to clear the obstruction the Skipper contacted the Coastguard for assistance as there was no other vessel in the area to offer assistance. The Lifeboat was on scene at 01.30hrs, a tow was quickly established and the casualty was towed back to Mallaig Harbour.
The Lifeboat was refuelled and back on station at 06.30hrs.

Sunday 29th€˜ June:
Launched by Stornoway Coastguard to go to€˜ the assistance of a grounded yacht at the entrance of Mallaig Harbour. Whilst leaving Mallaig Harbour the yacht Eskimo Friend grounded on the reef north of the Lighthouse. One of the small ferries tried to tow her off but with a falling tide this attempt was abandoned. Once on the scene three members of the Lifeboat crew went to assess the yacht for damage. Luckily very little damage was found and the casualty was settled in a steady position on the rocks to await the rising tide. The casualty'€™s anchor was deployed so as to hold her head to the wind when the tide rose. The Lifeboat returned to station in the Harbour to await the rising tide.

Sunday 29th June:
At 16.00hrs the Lifeboat returned to the scene of the previous call and again a crew member went to assess the condition of the casualty on the rising tide. With a slight sea on the bow the casualty, being a catamaran, began to hit her rudders on the reef. To try and reduce this effect the Lifeboat deployed the large black fenders under the hull just forward of the rudders and this worked well. At approximately 17.30hrs the casualty floated free. After a check of equipment and retrieving the fenders the casualty carried out a short trial of the engines and steering before returning to the pontoons in the Harbour. An inspection by a local diver found very little damage to both hull and rudders.
Lifeboat back ready for service at 18.00hrs.

Saturday July 5th€˜:
Launched at 21.20hrs to go to the assistance of the broken down RIB Coot four miles west of Idrigill Point, Skye. Stornoway Coastguard received a call from the Coot that they were experiencing gearbox trouble and had had to shut off their engine. They were on their way from Tobermory, Isle of Mull, to Berneray on North Uist. Weather conditions were good and the Coot was in no immediate danger.
On scene at 22.50hrs, the Coot was taken under tow to Carbost in Loch Harport, and berthed at 01.30hrs. The local Coastguard took charge and would arrange for a local engineer to inspect the gearbox in the morning.
Lifeboat was fuelled and ready for service in Mallaig at 3.20hrs.

Sunday July 13th€œ
Launched by Stornoway Coastguard to evacuate an injured crewman from the cruise vessel Hebridean Princess at 17.23hrs. While descending to the engine room the engineer had slipped and sustained a suspected broken ankle. Weather conditions were fine and the Lifeboat arrived at the Hebridean Princess to the north of the Isle of Muck at 18.23hrs. The casualty was boarded through the side door of the cruise vessel on to the Lifeboat with the assistance of both crews then taken back to Mallaig where he was transferred to the local ambulance and on to Belford Hospital in Ft. William for treatment.
The Lifeboat was refuelled and ready for service at 19.15hrs.

Monday July 14th
Lifeboat called to the assistance of a yacht which had run aground on the north shore of the Isle of Muck. On arrival the vessel was in the process of being tethered to a mooring by the local Coastguard, having been refloated due to a rising tide. Yacht and crew were checked by the Lifeboat crew and found to be safe and well. Lifeboat back on station at 22.40hrs.

Wednesday July 16th 2014
The Lifeboat was launched to check on the crew of a yacht moored in Canna Harbour. The local Coastguard were concerned as they had been unable to contact the yacht. On arrival the occupant was found to be on the yacht but had both his radio and mobile phone switched off to save power. After making sure all was well the Lifeboat was back in Mallaig and refuelled ready for service at 15.00hrs.

Sunday July 20th
Launched by Stornoway Coastguard to medivac a male with a broken leg from the Isle of Eigg at 07.00hrs. The casualty had been attending a social function, slipped and fallen, breaking his leg. Luckily a locum doctor also on the island and applied emergency care until the Lifeboat arrived. The Lifeboat crew applied further care and the casualty was transferred by stretcher to the Lifeboat and on to Mallaig Harbour where the ambulance transported the patient to the Belford Hospital in Fort William.
Lifeboat back on station and refuelled at 09.30hrs

Thursday July 24th
Launched by Stornoway Coastguard to the Roshven area of Lochailort at 22.30hrs. It had been reported that a couple had gone for a sail in a dinghy in the early evening and were now overdue. The Lifeboat arrived on scene at 23.05hrs when a report was received from the local Coastguard that both had been found on the Ardnish Peninsula opposite Roshven. The Lifeboat was stood down and returned to be refuelled and ready for service at 23.55hrs.

Friday 25th July
A mobile phone call to the Harbour Master alerted the services to the aid of a local man and his three companions. The party had been enjoying a day'€™s fishing at the back of Sleat Point. After deciding to return to port their engine failed to start. After many unsuccessful attempts to restart the outboard the party decide to paddle offshore until a mobile phone signal was attained. A phone call to the Harbour Master then the Lifeboat Operations Manager and the Coastguard saw the Lifeboat underway at 16:14. On scene at 16:30 the casualties were passed a tow rope and then transferred to the Lifeboat for the tow back to Mallaig in pleasant calm conditions, arriving alongside the pontoons at 17.30 hrs.Lifeboat ready for service at 18:00

Sunday 3rd August
Launched to assist Police and Coastguards in the search for a missing person in the Arisaig area at 14.20 hrs. Once on scene the Y-Boat was launched with two crewmen onboard and a shoreline search was carried out. The search was extended to the South side of the Rhu Peninsula up to the Borrodale Islands. After a search lasting four hours and with no trace of the missing person found the Lifeboat was stood down at 17:35hrs. Fortunately the person was located some hours later to the north of the initial search area and attended to by Police and Medics.
Lifeboat ready for service at 18:30hrs.

Monday 4th ˜August
Launched at 17:25 hrs by Stornoway Coastguard to medivac a female from Doune on the Knoydart Peninsula. Once on scene the female was transferred from the shore by the Doune boatman and local resident to the Lifeboat. Once back in Mallaig the patient was transferred into the care of the local Ambulance crew. The patient was taken to Fort William's Belford Hospital for treatment.
Lifeboat ready for service at 18:30 hrs.

Friday 8th€˜ August
Launched at 11.45hrs by Stomoway Coastguard to go to the assistance of the yacht Ossian of Lorne, becalmed and unable to start its engine off Sabhal Mor Ostaig, North of Armadale. When the Lifeboat came alongside the casualty 15 minutes later one of the mechanically minded crew members went onboard to investigate what could be wrong. Minutes later the engine sprang into life. Apparently a sticky starter was diagnosed and a sharp tap with the hammer resolved the problem. After being shown what to do should the starter stick again the crew were quite happy to continue on their passage to Plockton.

Saturday 9th August
A request for assistance from the yacht Prospero via the Coastguard and the Local Operations Manager saw the Lifeboat launched at 16.35hrs to assist the yacht to berth in Mallaig. The skipper could not get the engine to start. Able to sail to the harbour entrance, he asked via the Coastguard if the Lifeboat would assist in bringing him into the pontoons. The Lifeboat met the Prospero and took her under tow to the pontoons.

Saturday 9th€˜ August
Minutes after mooring the Prospero at the pontoons whilst the crew were squaring the boat away another call came in from the sailboat Ezra which was also experiencing problems with its engine. The Ezra was about 40 minutes from the harbour and under sail. Again a rendezvous was arranged off the harbour entrance. Once at the entrance the Ezra was taken under tow and berthed at the pontoons.
Lifeboat ready for service at 18.30hrs.

Tuesday 12th August
Launched by Stomoway Coastguard to the assistance of the yacht Nunatak in Loch Nevis. The skipper reported to the Coastguard that he was experiencing problems with his cooling system. Although at anchor he was concerned that he might lose power whilst retrieving the anchor and ground on the nearby shoreline. Once alongside the casualty in Glaschoille Bay the yacht was moored to the Lifeboat and with the assistance of one of the crew the anchor was retrieved. With the yacht still alongside the engine was restarted and a minor repair carried out by the skipper which was monitored for a short time. With the repair reducing the leak considerably the yacht was cast off and commenced towards Mallaig under her own power with the Lifeboat in close escort. Moored in Mallaig at 16:30hrs.
Lifeboat ready for service at 16.40hrs.

Thursday 14th€˜ August
Call to assist a sailing dinghy thought to have been run aground at Earnsaig, Loch Nevis. On reaching the locus of the vessel, it was established it had been grounded on purpose and the two occupants had gone hill walking. False alarm with good intent. Vessel returned to Mallaig and ready for service at 16:20hrs.

Saturday 24th€˜ August
Initially requested to launch by Police at 11:30hrs to transfer Lochaber Mountain Rescue team to the Isle of Rum to assist in the ongoing search for a missing hillwalker. As the crew awaited to transfer the MRT it was decided that the Helicopter Rescue 100 would be better at deploying the MRT on the Island, thus releasing the Lifeboat to carry out a shore search on the South East side of Rum where the missing person was known to have ventured. On scene at 12:10 in Dippadale Bay the Y-Boat was launched to search along the shore line whilst the Lifeboat searched little further off to scan the cliff tops and upwards to the scree falls above the shoreline. The search was terminated at Harris Bay with the news that the casualty had been located. The Lifeboat returned to Rum Harbour (Kinloch) to await the MRT and take them back to Mallaig. Again Rescue 100 came into its own with the helicopter picking up the MRT from various locations on the Island and transferring them to Mallaig.
With transfers in hand Lifeboat was released to return to Mallaig, fuelled and ready for service at 15:45hrs.

Monday 8th September
:Launched by Stornoway Coastguard at 15:35 to the assistance of the yacht Amadea 2 in Glenuig Bay. On scene at 16:15hrs the Amadea was found anchored to a mooring by her propeller. Apparently as they attempted to pick up the rope the Skipper was not able to hold on to the rope and had let it go. In doing so the pickup ran down under the hull and into the propeller which must have been creeping and drew the rope in. The Lifeboat picked up the adjacent mooring and launched the Y-€”Boat firstly to pass the tow rope across to Amadea and make her secure to the lifeboat. Once this was done the crew of the Y-boat assessed how best to try and free the rope from the propeller. The crew tried to cut the rope free with a lance fashioned from the small boat hook and the tools knife secured with jubilee clips. This operation was made even more difficult by the moderate chop coming onto the casualty'€™s stern. Several attempts were made at trying to free the casualty from the mooring with no success owing to the fact that the prop had drawn in so much rope that the crew were dealing with the riser chain. With the motion creating so much lift that it would be too dangerous to call in the services of a diver it was decided to abandon attempts until the weather settled. To make Amadea safe until a diver could free her a rope was attached to the adjacent mooring and the yacht was brought round to head to wind to make the overnight stay more comfortable for the couple and their three dogs. Before departing the lifeboat crew provided phone numbers of local divers who could assist in freeing them from their dilemma. Lifeboat returned to station and ready for service at 18:40hrs. Amadea was freed from the mooring the next morning after a diver cut the entangled rope from the propeller. Fortunately no damage was sustained and Amadea was able to proceed on her way.

Tuesday 16th September
Launched by Stornoway Coastguard to the assistance of the motorboat Cos'€a'€™kin broken down east of Eigg at 15:30hrs. On scene at 15:50hrs the Casualty was found drifting without engine power as the main drive belt which drove the auxiliaries, ie, cooling, electrics had shredded. Telephone calls were made ashore to see if another belt could be acquired in Mallaig from local engineers. Unfortunately no matching belt could be sourced. The party had originally departed from Dunstaffnage Marina via Tobermory where one of the party had left his own boat to join his friends on Cos'a'kin. It was decided to tow the Casualty towards Ardnamurchan where Tobermory lifeboat would come and take over the tow. That way they could get back to the mainland with the other boat and get spares for Cos'a'kin. After a couple of phone calls Tobermory's LOM had his crew steaming north to meet Mallaig Lifeboat and its charge. Tobermory lifeboat was met at Bo Faskadale and the tow transferred across. At 17:20hrs, in flat calm conditions Cos'€™a'kin continued southbound at a respectable 8-9 knots behind Tobermory Lifeboat.
Mallaig lifeboat returned to station and was fuelled and ready for service at 18:00hrs.

Tuesday 7th€˜ October
A phone call from a family member to the Lifeboat station alerted the crew that two females had been cut off by the tide in the Morar River Estuary. The Lifeboat Operations Manager was informed and then duly informed the Coastguard who paged the crew to muster. A mother and her daughter had gone to explore and take pictures from the steps below Morar Hotel up towards Riverside and the road bridge. On their return they became trapped on the rocks due to the speed that the spring tide was coming into the estuary. The daughter called her brother to inform him of their predicament and to ascertain when the tide would be going back out as they were prepared to wait since they were in no immediate danger. As the tide was still making and darkness would fall before the ebb, it was decided it would be best to evacuate them in daylight. A short trip found the Lifeboat off the estuary. The Y-Boat was launched with two crew members onboard who soon located the casualties and took them back to the steps and the waiting local Coastguards. None the worse for their ordeal both women were thankful for their prompt rescue.
Lifeboat back at station and ready for service at 17:30 hrs.

Thursday 6th November
Launched by Stornoway Coastguard to transfer Paramedics to Inverie in Loch Nevis at 21:15hrs. A guest staying in one of the local Guest Houses had suffered a suspected stroke. As weather conditions were pretty dreadful due to heavy persistent rain and low cloud Helicopter Rescue 100 from Stornoway would take longer to transit down the Coast to Inverie. Once alongside at Inverie Paramedics were transferred to the casualty'€™s location for initial assessment and treatment. In the meantime Lifeboat crew with transferred by Landrover to the an area east of Inverie village to illuminate a lighting site for Rescue 100 to land using ultra bright LED torches. Rescue 100 cautiously approached the landing site in the heavy rain and set down on the field lit by the lifeboat crew. The Helicopter winch man was then transferred to the casualty'€™s location and was met by the Ambulance crew and briefed on casualty's condition. With the casualty now assessed and able to walk assisted he was transferred to Rescue 100 for transfer to Raigmore Hospital in Inverness. Once casualty was boarded on to the aircraft the Lifeboat was released from service at 22:35hrs and returned to Mallaig with Ambulance crew. Lifeboat berthed and ready for service at 22:55hrs.

Sunday 21th December 2014
The RNLI lifeboat was launched at 22:35hrs to medivac a patient from the island of Eigg to the mainland. On scene at 23:30 hrs, the patient was quickly boarded and transferred to Mallaig. Once back at Mallaig the patient was handed over to Ambulance crew for transfer to Belford Hospital, Fort William. Lifeboat ready for service again at 00:45hrs.