Every day, all over the UK, RNLI volunteer crews are on call 24 hours a day ready to save lives at sea. It’s been a particularly busy week for the crew of Portpatrick RNLI Lifeboat, in the run up to their popular annual fundraiser for the RNLI – Portpatrick Lifeboat Week.
Portpatrick RNLI all weather Tamar class lifeboat John Buchanan Barr was tasked on Tuesday 25 July 2023 at 12.04pm by HM Coastguard to a 34ft yacht with two persons onnboard reporting engine trouble at the mouth of Loch Ryan. The P&O Ferry was standing by.
When the lifeboat arrived in Loch Ryan the causalty vessel was making its way to Stranraer under small sail. A member of Portpatrick Lifeboat Crew was put aboard to assist and the yacht was able to sail to just outside Stranraer Marina. At this point the lifeboat took the casualty vessel in an alongside tow into the visitors berth at the marina where it was safely handed over to HM Coastguard Stranraer.
The John Buchanan Barr then returned to Portpatrick harbour at 3.30pm where it was refuelled and made ready for service before it was tasked again on Thursday 27 July at 00.39am to a 26ft yacht with a lone sailor onboard in the mouth of Loch Ryan. The sailor was badly fatigued and had lost his bearings due to the failure of his navigational equipment and was in danger of straying into the ferry lanes or onto rocks.
Portpatrick Lifeboat came alongside and were able to persuade the sailor to follow the lifeboat into Stranraer. Upon nearing Stranraer a crewman was put aboard the yacht to assist in safe berthing and mooring in Stranraer Marina where the local coastguard where on hand to assist and the lifeboat returned to Portpatrick and was once again ready for service by 6.30am.
Pagers sounded once again at 9.20am Friday 28 July when the crew were tasked to a 21ft fishing boat with one person on board experiencing engine problems in the mouth of Clanyard Bay south of Port Logan. Upon arrival on the scene the fisherman was safely at anchor awaiting assistance and the lifeboat was able to establish an along side tow and proceed to the safety of Port Logan from where the vessel had launched. Once close enough in, the casualty vessel was able to redeploy his anchor and wait for the tide to recede enough for him to wade ashore for his trailer.
On Sunday 30 August at 6.10pm, as the crew were hanging RNLI flags in the village ready for the start of lifeboat week, they were tasked along with Stranraer RNLI Lifeboat, Port William Inshore Rescue and HM Coastguard teams from Portpatrick, Stranraer, Drumore and Ballantrae to assist in a multi agency search of Luce Bay for an overdue kayaker who had left New England Bay at approximately 11.45 am and failed to return. Coastguard SAR Helicopter R199 also joined the extensive search and the casualty was found by the Coastguard SAR Helicopter and airlifted to safety and onward to hospital for checks. Portpatrick Lifeboat proceeded to recover the kayak from the water before returning to harbour where it was refuelled and ready for service by 10.25pm.
Robert McQueen Coxswain Portpatrick Lifeboat said, ‘ It has been a busy few days for our volunteer crew, at times under challenging conditions. Thankfully all these incidents had a positive outcome. However, it does serve as a timely reminder to anyone undertaking activities on or around the water to always carry a means of calling for help and to check the weather and tides before heading out. Myself and the rest of the crew are now hoping for a less eventful week operationally as we host Lifeboat Week, but we are all still on the pager and all fundraising events will be subject to operational requirements’.
It’s public support that allows the RNLI to continue to save lives at sea and our volunteers need your support. Portpatrick Lifeboat Week 2023 will be held from Monday 31 July until Sunday 6 August raising funds for the RNLI. Daily event schedules will be posted on Portpatrick Lifeboat Facebook page but all events will be subject to operational requirements.
To make a donation to the RNLI visit RNLI.org/support-us/give-money/donate