Kessock Lifeboat was tasked this afternoon to attend to several capsized sailing dinghies along the Moray coastline following what was described as an “unbelievable” squall hit two different groups of sailors.
Earlier on Saturday morning RNLI Lifeboats from both Kessock and Invergordon had visited the Chanonry Sailing Club open day in Fortrose. Both Lifeboats had left Fortrose and were making their way to Nairn to attend a similar open day for their sailing club.
Conditions were good, with little wind and calm seas.
On passage from Fortrose to Nairn, both lifeboats passed through a vicious weather squall. Conditions rapidly deteriorated to thunder, lightening, hail and very strong winds. Invergordon lifeboat recorded windspeeds gusting at 56knots. The squall lasted for about 10 minutes. Following the squall weather conditions returned to the calm of earlier on.
Just after Kessock Lifeboat volunteers had secured their lifeboat inside Nairn Harbour a member of the public rushed over alerting them to a capsized sailing dinghy back out at sea with 2 persons on board.
Kessock Lifeboat quickly made their way to the upturned dinghy along with the sailing club rescue boat, who recovered the casualties from the water. The lifeboat crew righted the damaged dinghy and recovered it to the harbour. The sailors were given assistance on the shore by Nairn Coastguard team.
As soon as this incident was dealt with both Kessock and Invergordon Lifeboats along with the independent lifeboat, Moray Inshore Rescue Organisation (MIRO) who were also at Nairn were tasked by Aberdeen Coastguard to assist 7 capsized dinghies at Findhorn, with multiple people in the water.
All 3 lifeboats made best speed in good conditions to Findhorn, a journey of about 10 miles by sea. When Kessock lifeboat was a little under 4 miles from Findhorn it was stood down from the tasking, while Invergordon Lifeboat and MIRO continued to Findhorn.
Kessock Lifeboat crew then made their way back to their Lifeboat station to maintain Search and Rescue cover for the Beauly and Inner Moray Firth areas while the incident in Findhorn was being dealt with.
Speaking of the squall, RNLI Kessock volunteer Helmsman Kenny Foggo said ‘It was unbelievable conditions that literally came out of nowhere. It went from flat calm to storm force winds, thunder, lightening and hail so fierce we couldn’t see in almost an instant. After about 10 mins it was over and everything was completely calm again’
Notes to Editors
Attached pictures show RNLI Kessock returning to Nairn Harbour with the damaged sailing dinghy alongside the lifeboat.
Credit: RNLI/Michael MacDonald
Dan Holland, Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer, RNLI Kessock, 07900 567 496 firstname.lastname@example.org
Key facts about the RNLI
The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is the charity that saves lives at sea. Our volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service in the United Kingdom and Ireland from 238 lifeboat stations, including four along the River Thames and inland lifeboat stations at Loch Ness, Lough Derg, Enniskillen and Lough Ree. Additionally the RNLI has more than 1,000 lifeguards on over 240 beaches around the UK and operates a specialist flood rescue team, which can respond anywhere across the UK and Ireland when inland flooding puts lives at risk.
The RNLI relies on public donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. As a charity it is separate from, but works alongside, government-controlled and funded coastguard services. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824 our lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved at least 140,000 lives. Volunteers make up 95% of the charity, including 4,600 volunteer lifeboat crew members and 3,000 volunteer shore crew. Additionally, tens of thousands of other dedicated volunteers raise funds and awareness, give safety advice, and help in our museums, shops and offices.
Learn more about the RNLI
For more information please visit the RNLI website or Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. News releases, videos and photos are available on the News Centre.
Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries
Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 or by email.
The RNLI is a charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SC037736). Charity number 20003326 in the Republic of Ireland