999 night time callout for Girvan Lifeboat
Girvan lifeboat launches to report of Yacht with mast problem.
At 21:42 Saturday 5th August, Girvan's All-weather lifeboat was requested to launch by Belfast Coastguard. A member of the public had sighted a yacht that looked as though it had trouble with its mast around half mile west of Bennane caravan park near lendalfoot and informed the coastguard via a 999 call.
Lifeboat 12-37 ‘Silvia Burrell’ and her volunteer crew were soon making best speed out of the harbour entrance and heading South, with darkness creeping in fast and with a fresh North Westerly wind rolling into our side, we were before long nearing the area where the vessel had been sighted.
The flashing blue lights of Ballantrae Coastguard Rescue Team's vehicle could be seen on land indicating we were close, with no communications established to the vessel it was imperative that we got to it as soon as possible, with still nothing showing on the radar.
A few minutes later we could just make out a single dull light, then the mast and the yacht, lighting it up with our searchlights a sole figure appeared from the stern of the sailing vessel ‘Misjif', communications although via the casualty’s very fractured English were opened up and he was moored for the night and seemed quite happy and no issues seemed apparent with his mast.
The lifeboat crew advised him that with the current wind direction and having actually moored his yacht onto a fishing creel bouy was possibly not the best and safest option for him to spend the night especially with the sea hitting him side on and rolling the yacht severely as well as the creel not being a fixed anchor point, where he could still end up ashore on the rocks.
The safest option for him as he did not appear to have any working navigation lights either was to be in the safety of a harbour, Girvan Lifeboat escorted the casualty back to Girvan where it was met and berthed by members of Ballantrae Coastguard Rescue Team.
It transpires the vessel was lacking some basic safety equipment, it had left Largs marina destined for the Caribbean, we do hope the safety advice of the CRT hits home with the mariner and would reaffirm if heading to sea on any vessel, that you have all the correct safety equipment, the vessel is sea worthy and correctly equipped, and also have a working method of communication if not more than one, checking in with the coastguard with your intentions would do no harm either.
The lifeboat was back in Girvan and made ready for service once again at around midnight, in this instance it was deemed a false alarm with good intent from the initial 999 call, but also invaluable and a blessing in disguise as it ensured the sailor was moored in a safer place for the night and received some valuable safety advice from the Coastguard Rescue Team.
Key facts about the RNLI
The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates over 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.