Three shouts in four days for Girvan lifeboat crew

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Girvan Lifeboat had its busiest week of the year so far, with three ‘shouts’ in four days, rescuing a number of people from danger at sea.

On Thursday, 20th August, at 4.50pm, the lifeboat was called out following a 999 call reporting two persons in a kayak in difficulties six miles south of Girvan near Lendalfoot.

The man and girl in the kayak were having some difficulty in reaching the shore against a strong offshore wind and moderate to rough seas.

Girvan Lifeboat was joined in the search by both Girvan and Ballantrae Coastguard Rescue Teams as well as Rescue Helicopter 177 from HMS Gannet at Prestwick.

The kayak was located and all rescue services stood by until the kayak made it safely ashore to confirm the occupants were both safe and well.

On Sunday, 23rd August, at 4am the lifeboat was again called out following a VHF Radio call from a 25-foot yacht which had suffered engine failure while trying to enter Girvan Harbour. Again the strong offshore wind, blowing at Force 5, was a major factor.

The yacht had been wedged against the outer harbour wall, and could make no headway under sail against the wind.

Aboard were two adults and two children. The lifeboat came alongside and transferred two crew, Darren Horne and John Tait, aboard the yacht to assist.

Lines were successfully attached, and the lifeboat proceeded to tow the yacht into the safety of the inner harbour, where they secured the vessel alongside the pontoon, with the assistance of the Girvan Coastguard Rescue Team.

Later that same day at 3.30 pm, the lifeboat was called out again, following two 999 calls reporting a hang-glider being blown out to sea in the strong offshore wind over Kennedy’s Pass, toward Ailsa Craig.

The wind at that time was easterly force 6, with rough seas. The lifeboat searched the area between Lendalfoot and Ailsa Craig, as well as all round Ailsa Craig.

Two crew members, Darren Horne and Callum Govus, were also put ashore on the island to search the derelict buildings just in case. Nothing was found.

During this time the initial informants and members of the local public were interviewed by Girvan Coastguard Team.

It was concluded that no life was at risk and the initial call was a ‘False Alarm with Good Intent’.

Second Coxswain, Gary McGarvie, was in command for all three shouts.

Deputy Launching Authority Ian McClymont said: “In an area where we are familiar with the prevailing wind being usually westerly, it is all too easy to get caught out when that wind changes to easterly, or offshore, and catches the unwary, blowing them out to sea, instead of ashore !

A ‘False Alarm with Good Intent’ is where someone sees something which they genuinely believe to be a problem, and, quite correctly reports it to the appropriate emergency service.

“This should never be discouraged.

“Who knows, it might be genuine, and there might be life at risk. Better safe than sorry.”