Log for 2011
Information for these pages is sourced from WestWord, local newspaper for West Lochaber
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Sunday 9th January:
lt was a crisp winter's day, calm with a cloudless sky, when the Mallaig Lifeboat launched at 13.10 hrs to go to the assistance of a local prawn trawler, Amethyst (BA123) becalmed due to a net in the propeller. Arriving at the casualty at 13.36, a tow was quickly secured and by 16.00hrs the Amethyst was berthed safely in the Outer Harbour at Mallaig.
Lifeboat refuelled and ready for service by 16.15 hrs.
Monday 31st January:
The Mallaig Lifeboat was launched at 23.28 hrs at the request of Stornoway Coastguard to go to the assistance of the 45 metre French trawler Jack Abry II which had run aground on the northwest comer of Rum. Arriving on scene at 00.30 hrs, the gale force winds and very rough sea state made it impossible for the Lifeboat to get close enough to the trawler to effect rescue of the 14 man crew.
The Lifeboat stood by awaiting the arrival of the Rescue Helicopter and when it arrived, despite the stricken vessel being close to a cliff edge, it managed to rescue all the 14 man crew of the Jack Abry II.
The Lifeboat then took up position at Canna Harbour awaiting high tide and assessment of the vessel's final position. Standing by, waiting for the Coastguard Tug to arrive on scene, the Lifeboat recovered a stray liferaft from the trawler.
Lifeboat was stood down at 09.30 hrs and headed for Mallaig, arriving there at 10.20hrs, eleven hours after departure.
Thursday 17th February:
Lifeboat launched at 12.50 hrs to go to the assistance of the Oban registered and Mallaig based prawn trawler Margaret Ann. Whilst fishing off Rum, the Margaret Ann developed engine trouble and, unable to make any headway, the skipper called Stornoway Coastguard requesting assistance. Arriving on scene at 13.42hrs the Mallaig Lifeboat towed the trawler back to Mallaig, berthing her in the inner harbour at 15.00 hrs. Lifeboat refuelled and ready for service at 15.14 hrs.
Thursday 24th February:
Lifeboat launched at 15.28 hrs at the request of the Stornoway Coastguard to go to the assistance of an injured hill walker located at Sourlies Bothy at the head of Loch Nevis. The walker, one of three, had injured his ankle and was therefore unable to walk to Inverie. 1t was therefore decided that the Lifeboat should pick up the casualty from the head of the loch. Arriving on scene at 16.07 hrs, the Lifeboat launched the Y-boat which proceeded to shore, picked up the casualty and transferred him on to the Lifeboat. Setting off for Mallaig at 16.35 hrs, the Lifeboat made good time in the calm conditions and arrived there at 17.23 hrs.
The hillwalker was transferred to the waiting ambulance, while the lifeboat was refuelled and ready for service at 17.30 hrs.
Tuesday 1st March:
Lifeboat launched at 05.56 at the request of the Stornoway Coastguard to go to the assistance of the Oban registered Caralisa OB956 reported to in danger of sinking in Canna Sound. Five other local local vessels in the area had transferred their pumps across to the Caralisa but the water was gaining on them. Arriving on scene at 06.50, the Lifeboat's pumps were transferred across and after about 15 minutes the combined efforts of all the pumps started gaining on the incoming water.
With the situation now under control it was decided to make headway to Mallaig so, with the Ocean Hunter strapped to the starboard side and the Lifeboat on its port side, the Caralisa headed for safety at a canny 5 knots. Arriving at the harbour mouth, the Caralisa was untied and proceeded in under her own steam.
A commendable effort for all those involved in the successful outcome of the operation - local skippers and their crews and the Lifeboat's crew for the safe delivery of the Caralisa and four crew members to the safety of Mallaig Harbour. Lifeboat refuelled and ready for service at 1200 hrs.
Saturdav 19th March:
Mallaig Lifeboat launched at 04.06hrs to go to the assistance of the twin-rig trawler Ocean Way. The Banff registered vessel had grounded on the south side of the Isle of Rum whilst on passage to the fishing grounds.
As the Lifeboat left the harbour, the skipper of the Ocean Way reported that they had refloated on the rising tide but as a precaution the Lifeboat continued out to meet the vessel and escort her back to Mallaig.
On scene at 04.31hrs, the Lifeboat took up station and with the trawler's crew reporting no ingress of water, the Ocean Way was safely escorted to Mallaig. Arriving at the port at high tide, the vessel was able to go straight onto Lovat Beach for hull inspection.
Tuesday 22nd March:
Launch requested by Stornoway Coastguard at 18.12hrs to investigate an EPIRB distress signal in the Loch Nevis area. On finding out the nature of the shout, one of the Lifeboat notified the Coxswain that he knew of a discarded EPIRB at the Net Stores on West Bay. On further investigation the EPIRB was found to be transmitting and was quickly disarmed. Coastguard informed and Lifeboat crew stood down.
Wednesday 27th April:
Lifeboat launched at 21.30 hrs at the request of the Stornoway Coastguard to convey fire crew to Kyles Morar in Loch Nevis as a large hill fire was threatening property in the area. On arrival some twenty minutes later at the jetty in the narrows, the fire was still fairly high up in the hill, so the fire crew decided to transfer ashore with their equipment and monitor the fire's 'progress'. Transportation for the fire crew back to Mallaig having been arranged with the local boatman, the Lifeboat was free to return to base, where it was refuelled and ready for service at 23.10hrs.
Saturday 30th April:
Cloudless sky, good visibility with a light breeze were the weather conditions at 15.25hrs when the Mallaig Lifeboat was tasked by HM Coastguard to assist two persons in the water in Loch Ailort. The two kayakers were hanging on to mussel lines, their vessel having capsized. RAF helicopter recovered persons from the water so Lifeboat stood down and returned to harbour at 16.45hrs.
Monday 2nd May:
Lifeboat launched at 13.27 at the request of HM Coastguard to recover a young lady from the Ardnish Peninsula, Lochailort, who had become isolated from her family due to a large heath fire. Concerned about their daughter's safety, her parents had raised the alarm with the emergency services and it was decided that the Lifeboat be sent to collect the stranded walker from the beach.
On arrival at the entrance to Loch Ailort at 14.10, the young lady was found safe and well. Whilst one crew member helped the lady with the camping gear, the Y-boat was used to ferry members of the fire service who had arrived on board another vessel from Glenuig to check the bothy for any other campers who may have been cut off by the heath fire. No trace of any other campers or walkers was found and, with the young lady now safely on board, the Lifeboat was joined by the Coastguard helicopter which was canying out fly-overs on the look-out for anyone else who could be trapped.
Lifeboat returned to Mallaig, docking there at 17.05, safely delivered the young lady to relieved parents, got refuelled and was ready for service at 17.15hrs.
Sunday 8th May:
Launched at 16.18 hrs to rendezvous with the Knoydart based Mary Doune as, on passage back to Doune, Knoydart, the chartered vessel had recovered a person from the water two miles NE of Eigg. The casualty, wearing kayaking gear and still clutching his paddle, was lifeless when taken on board but the crew of the Mary Doune cormnenced CPR.
The Lifeboat met with the Mary Doune shortly after leaving the harbour but due to strong SE wind a transfer of medical equipment was not possible. With the crew of the Mary Doune receiving medical advice from a doctor via the Coastguard, the Lifeboat proceeded ahead to render assistance when the charter vessel docked at the Mallaig pontoon. With the casualty now delivered into the hands of the Doctor and the paramedics, the Lifeboat returned to sea to search the area where the casualty was discovered - the fear being that there might be more kayakers at risk or missing.
The Coastguard helicopter joined the Lifeboat in the search area and soon located the kayak which the Lifeboat recovered and then proceeded to search down the East side of Eigg in case others were at risk. Personal items located in the kayak were reported ashore and it was soon established that no other persons were involved in the incident. The Helicopter and Lifeboat were subsequently stood down and Lifeboat refuelled ready for service at 19.50hrs.
Sadly the kayaker did not survive.
Sunday 8th May:
Tasked by Stornoway Coastguard to investigate a personal emergency beacon which had been activated in the Loch Bracadale area of Skye, the Mallaig Lifeboat launched at 20.36hrs and was en route to the scene when informed that two persons had been recovered from a dinghy by the Coastguard helicopter which was uplifting them to Broadford Hospital. Mallaig Lifeboat stood down and returned to station at 23.08hrs.
Friday 13th May:
There was a gentle breeze at 17.05hrs when the Lifeboat was called to assist in the first aid recovery of an injured female who had fallen from a horse whilst riding in Inverie.
Arriving on scene at 17.30hrs, first aid was rendered and the young woman transported to Mallaig and handed over to Ambulance personnel for further treatment and transport to Hospital. Lifeboat back on station, refuelled and ready for service at 19.05hrs.
Saturday 4th June:
Launch requested at 12.55 hrs by Stornoway Coastguard to go to the assistance of a yacht in difficulties at north end of Muck (Gotag). Before the Lifeboat crew had been paged, the 10 metre yacht Galante had refloated and, with little damage sustained, the Lifeboat was not required and was stood down without leaving the pontoon.
Sunday 5th June:
Lifeboat launched at 01.15 hrs having been tasked by Stornoway Coastguard to go to Inverie to embark a 64 year old male who had been pulled from the water at Inverie Pier. The casualty had been taken to the 0ld Forge in the village, stripped of his wet clothing, dried and wrapped in a duvet but, due to fears for his wellbeing, the Lifeboat was requested to transfer the casualty to Mallaig for transportation to the Belford Hospital in Fort William. Arriving on scene at 01.35, the Lifeboat crew administered oxygen to the patient, then stretchered him down to the Lifeboat. Arriving back in Mallaig at 02.20hrs, the casualty was handed over to the local ambulance crew. Lifeboat refuelled and ready for service at 02.28hrs.
Friday 10th June
Lifeboat launched at 14.52hrs to go to the assistance of a male canoeist in difficulties at Traigh on the Arisaig coast. Members of his family raised the alarm after noticing that he had capsized and was having difficulty re-boarding his craft. By the time the Lifeboat arrived on scene (14.58hrs), the casualty had managed to make it safely to the shore. A member of the local Coastguard team, who happened to be working at Traigh, met with the casualty and found him to be none the worse for his ordeal. With that knowledge, the Lifeboat was stood down and returned to its base within Mallaig Harbour at 15.56 hrs.
Thursday 23rd June:
There was a moderate breeze blowing at 01.45 hrs when the Mallaig Lifeboat was tasked by Stornoway Coastguard to go to the assistance of the 8 metre yacht Hurricane, reported by another yacht to be grounded in Loch Scavaig, Isle of Skye, after dragging its anchor. Arriving on scene at 02.30hrs, the Lifeboat discovered that in the interim the crew of the yacht had freed the Hurricane's propeller which had been fouled by the anchor rope, thus giving them back the engine power to take them off the shore. After escorting them offshore and establishing that the yacht had sustained no damage in the incident, the Lifeboat returned to Mallaig where it was refuelled and ready for service at 04.00hrs.
Wednesday 29th June:
The Henry Alston Hewat was launched at 19.57hrs to convey paramedics to the Ronja Pioneer as a crew member of the large, salmon carrying vessel had slipped on deck, breaking a leg.
The Ronja Pioneer, inbound for Mallaig when the incident happened, rendezvoused with the Lifeboat and a paramedic and three Lifeboat crew with equipment were subsequently transferred to the Norwegian-registered ship. As the casualty was only 30 minutes from the harbour it was agreed to remain on board the vessel which was escorted back to Mallaig, and with the assistance of the Lifeboat crew and medics, the injured crewman was transferred into the care of the Ambulance Service and taken to the Belford Hospital, Fort William, for treatment.
Sunday 10th July:
Lifeboat launched at 22.50 by Stornoway Coastguard to look for overdue diver in Loch nan Uamh. Local Coastguard team checked all possible locations from Loch nan Uamh to Glenuig but no trace of the diver's van was found. At 23.40 Coastguards were informed that the missing diver had been located safe and well so Lifeboat returned to base, refuelled and was ready for service at 00.40hrs on Monday 11th July.
Saturday 16th July:
Stornoway Coastguard requested the launch of the Mallaig Lifeboat at 14.59 to go to the assistance of the yacht Aequitas, suffering from engine overheating north of the Isle of Muck. Due to very light winds, the yacht was not making any headway but, arriving on scene at 15.44, the Lifeboat quickly established a towing rope and the casualty was brought into Mallaig Harbour for engine repairs.
Lifeboat ready for service about 1800 hrs.
Sunday 17th July:
Cloudy with a fresh breeze and a one metre swell were the weather conditions at 11.38hrs when the Mallaig Lifeboat was tasked to go to the assistance of three kayakers stranded on Luinga Mhor at the entrance to Arisaig. Stornoway Coastguard had received a call from the kayakers who, having spent the night on Luinga Mhor, were attempting to leave the island in the morning when the female member of the group had capsized. By the time the other two members recovered the young girl, they had been carried some way by the ebbing tide. Fearing a repeat, they called for assistance.
Arriving on scene at 12.04 hrs the Lifeboat crew quickly located the kayakers and, using the Y-boat, two of the party were taken on board the Lifeboat. The third member of the party decided to paddle through the more sheltered islands to where they had left their vehicle on the Rhu road. With the canoes in tow and the Y-boat in escort, the Lifeboat made way into Arisaig Loch, where the two casualties and their kayaks were safely deposited on the shore.
Returning to base, the Lifeboat was refuelled and ready for service at 13.25hrs.
Sunday 24th July:
The Henry Alston Hewat was launched at 20.05 hrs to search for an overdue dinghy and its occupant in Glenuig. Two persons had been sailing their racing dinghies in the Samalan area of Glenuig and one had received a blow to the head when the dinghy had capsized. Deciding to head for shore, he became concerned when he could not see his colleague, and informed the Coastguard.
Arriving on scene at 20.50hrs, the Mallaig Lifeboat began to search immediately, downwind towards the north channel of Eilean Shona, and within minutes one of the crew spotted the casualty on his dismasted dinghy. The casualty, none the worse for his ordeal, was quickly picked up and the dinghy made secure as the Lifeboat started to tow towards Glenuig to land the casualty. While doing so, the Lifeboat was tasked for another incident at the mouth of Arisaig Harbour.
Sunday 24th July:
At 21.00hrs, whilst engaged in the recovery of an overdue dinghy sailor from the Eilean Shona area, the Lifeboat was tasked to go to the assistance of the yacht Moorhen, in difficulty with engine trouble at the entrance to Arisaig Harbour. Within fifteen minutes, the Lifeboat had reached the casualty, secured a tow line and, at a steady 4 knots due to the northerly breeze, the Lifeboat towed the Moorhen to a mooring in Arisaig Harbour.
With Moorhen safely on a mooring, the Lifeboat continued to the pontoon at Arisaig Marine and landed the sailor and his dinghy. Lifeboat stood down at 23.30 hrs.
Saturday 20th August:
Mallaig Lifeboat launched at 01.07 hrs and tasked by Stornoway Coastguard to go to the assistance of the motor launch Aquatron which had dragged anchor and grounded on the north shore in Loch Scresort, Isle of Rum.
Arriving on scene at 02.00 the Lifeboat found the casualty aground and settled due to the falling tide. Rum Coastguard personnel were able to make their way down to the Aquatron and talk directly to the crew - two retired couples. It was decided to take the women off and using the Lifeboat's Y-boat this was achieved with the two women being transferred to the pier.
With the 10 metre Aquatron now high and dry, having sustained no obvious damage, the remaining crew were happy to sit it out and await the rising tide. At 07.30 the Lifeboat made her way across the bay to the Aquatron and when the time and tide was right, the Lifeboat towed the casualty free from the shore. With all well, the Aquatron was released and made her way to the pier to pick up the rest of the crew and wait for the weather to improve before continuing their voyage south to the Clyde.
Lifeboat refuelled and ready for service at 09.24 hrs.
Monday 29th August:
Cloudy with bright spells and a light breeze were the weather conditions at 12.55 when the Mallaig Lifeboat went to the assistance of the yacht Jaqualine which had grounded on a sandbar in the South Channel in the Arisaig Estuary. With the falling tide, the Jaqualine began to list to starboard but, because the grounding had occurred just about low water, by the time the Lifeboat arrived on scene at 13.19 the tide had begun to flood and, quite quickly, the Jaqualine began to float free without assistance. The Y-boat was launched with a couple of crew to speak to the crew of the Jaqualine, to ascertain if the boat was damaged. As a precaution, the yacht returned to Arisaig Marine to be lifted out for inspection. With everything now in hand, the Lifeboat was released and returned to Mallaig at 13.47.
Tuesday 30th August:
Launch requested by HM Coastguard for a suspected medivac from Inverie. Before the crew were paged, it transpired that there had been some confusion by NHS 24 as on further investigation the casualty was actually in Mallaig and not Inverie. Lifeboat stood down.
Thursday 13th October:
A treble nine call by a party of two adults, two children and two dogs alerted Stornoway Coastguard to the family's predicament of their dinghy floating off leaving them stranded on Eilean Ighe close to the North Channel, Arisaig.
Mallaig Lifeboat was launched at 15.21 hrs and in calm conditions proceeded south towards Arisaig islands. Just south of the Morar Estuary, the drifting dinghy was spotted and quickly secured, and with the stranded family in mobile phone contact with the Coastguard, they were soon located by the Lifeboat. Two crew members boarded the Y- boat and, with the dinghy in tow, they were met on the shore by a very relieved family and their even more welcoming dogs! With all now well, the Cooper family donned their lifejackets and re-boarded their dinghy for the short journey back to Tigh na Mara, Keppoch.
Lifeboat stood down at 16.10 hrs.
Its interesting to note that Mrs Cooper's family had visited the Station earlier in the year with a cheque for the RNLI in memory of their father.
Mallaig Lifeboat launched at 15.44 hrs, tasked by HM Coastguard to go to the assistance of a creel fisherman seen clinging to his upturned boat near Isle Oronsay, Skye. The Coastguard Rescue Helicopter was scrambled and the workboat Margaret Sinclair headed for the incident. Running before a strong southerly breeze, the Lifeboat made good time, arriving on scene at 16.06 hrs. The casualty was quickly spotted, clinging to the upturned dinghy some three hundred yards from shore. By sheer chance the creel rope had fouled somewhere under the dinghy, preventing it from drifting.
With winds now approaching gale force, the Lifeboat's Y-boat was launched and the casualty was rescued from the water, and thence to the safety of the lifeboat. After spending 45 minutes in the water, the casualty was in good shape although cold and tired, but under advice from the Coastguard that medical advice be sought, it was decided to transfer the casualty to hospital via the Coastguard Helicopter which was now on scene and hovering overhead. With the Lifeboat heading into the wind at a speed of five knots the helicopter winchman was quickly aboard and, after assessing the casualty, they were soon on the wire, inside the helicopter, and heading for the hospital, literally 'just over the hill'! Two of the Lifeboat crew returned to the upturned dinghy in the Y-boat, cutting it free and, with some clever use of the Lifeboat crane the dinghy was righted, emptied of water and taken ashore to the awaiting Coastguards.
With the crew and Y-boat safely back on board, the Lifeboat was stood down at 17.13 hrs and, after a lively passage back to Mallaig, was refuelled and ready for service at 17.55 hrs.
Tuesday 15th November:
Mallaig Lifeboat launched at 11.02hrs when tasked by Stornoway Coastguard to go to the assistance of a female resident on the Island of Muck who was unwell. In near perfect weather conditions the lifeboat made good time to Port Mor and the casualty was quickly transferred on board by the local coastguard team and crew at the ferry slipway. Arriving back at Mallaig at 13.03hrs the lady was handed over to the Ambulance Crew for onward conveyance to the Belford Hospital in Fort William.
Lifeboat refuelled and ready for service at 13.25hrs.
Thursday 24th November:
At the request of the Stornoway Coastguard the Mallaig Lifeboat was launched at 15.00hrs to go to the assistance of a whelk picker who had become stranded on an island in Loch Eishort, Skye. Earlier in the day the whelk picker had kayaked out to a small group of islands off Ord on the East side of the Sleat Peninsula but with a rising tide and deteriorating weather conditions she was unable to make her way back to the mainland. A concerned friend ashore informed the coastguard of the woman's plight and as well as the launching of the Mallaig Lifeboat the Stornoway based Rescue Helicopter (Rescue 100) was soon airborne and on its way to the casualty.
With a strong SW wind blowing the Lifeboat made reasonable time to Loch Eishort arriving on scene at 15.50hrs. The casualty was quickly spotted being lashed with waves, spray and driving rain in the ever increasing wind. Just as the lifeboat was preparing to launch the Y-boat, Rescue 100 arrived on scene and with the distinct advantage of being able to get overhead to rescue the casualty the lifeboat stood off so allowing the helicopter to effect the rescue. Within minutes the casualty was winched aboard the helicopter then subsequently transferred onto the shore to the awaiting coastguard from Kyle.
Released from the incident at 16.50hrs the lifeboat, with everything stowed and secured, proceeded back to Mallaig at a mere 6-8 knots into a now severe gale from the West and arrived back at base at 18.00hrs
Monday 5th December:
Lifeboat launched at 12.28hrs with paramedic on board to go to the assistance of a crew member of the local fishing boat Amethyst who had collapsed in the vessel's accommodation area while the trawler was fishing in the Sound of Rum. On scene at 13.01hrs the paramedic assessed the state of the casualty and with Helicopter Rescue 100 - which had been scrambled from its Stornoway base - encountering snow showers and still 25 minutes away it was agreed that the Amethyst would head east for the quieter waters of the Sound of Sleat to enable the casualty to be airlifted to hospital.
On arrival overhead, Rescue 100's winchman was lowered on board the fishing boat and confirmed the paramedics earlier assessment that the crewman should be airlifted to hospital. A heavy snow shower forced the helicopter to land on the Aird Peninsula but once clear skies prevailed the Rescue helicopter got airborne and was soon hovering above the trawler, preparing for a high line transfer to the aircraft.
With their usual slick manoeuvring, the winchman and casualty were soon on board the helicopter and en route to Broadford Hospital on Skye. The Amethyst and the lifeboat headed back to Mallaig with the lifeboat refuelled and ready for service at 15.06hrs.
Thursday 8th December:
Lifeboat launched at 09.10hrs at the request of Stornoway Coastguard to attend to an injured man at Inverie. A resident of Airor had been cycling to Inverie when he came off his bike and struck his head. A local resident had found the cyclist in a confused state and, fearing for his wellbeing, had notified the Coastguard. With an impending storm forecast the lifeboat was quickly dispatched to pick up the casualty and arriving on scene at 09.37hrs, the injured cyclist was quickly boarded and the lifeboat returned to Mallaig to hand the casualty over to the Ambulance Service for onward transportation to the Belford Hospital, Fort William.
Lifeboat back on station and ready for service at 09.51hrs.
N.B. Due to not having a full crew complement to launch, Coxswain M. Currie requested two local boatmen assist as crew to this "Medivac" call from Inverie. Drew Harris and Tom Harris (father and son) boarded to assist without hesitation and crew were grateful for their assistance!!
Mallaig's Severn Class Lifeboat Henry Alston Hewat was called into action on 32 occasions during 2011 - once more than 2010!
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