islay RNLI fishing vessel

Islay RNLI volunteer lifeboat assisted a fishing vessel suffering a mechanical breakdown six miles west of the island. Photo: RNLI/Islay RNLI

On Friday, 25 August, at 10:05am Islay’s volunteer lifeboat crew were paged by Belfast Coastguard to launch to a fishing vessel suffering a mechanical breakdown six miles west of Islay.

The decision was made between Islay lifeboat and Belfast Coastguard to tow the 36ft boat to the nearest safe and suitable port, Port Askaig. Launching in bright but breezy conditions with winds of 14-16mph, the volunteer crew of six, made good speed to the vessel.

Once out into the seas off the west of Islay there were challenging conditions for the lifeboat crew. This made it more difficult to pass the tow line to the fishing boat but it was quickly and successfully secured and the crew were then able to make steady progress back to Port Askaig. Returning at approximately 5pm, the lifeboat was skilfully brought alongside the pier, a difficult manoeuvre with the casualty vessel alongside. Islay RNLI were met by the local Coastguard rescue teams who assisted in securing the casualty vessel. The lifeboat was refuelled and ready for service by 5.30pm.

Lifeboat Operations Manager, Islay McEachern said: “No one goes out to sea and believes it will happen them when something goes wrong. Fishing can be a hard and dangerous way to make living but there are steps many take to ensure their crews remain safe, such as having a means to call for help and ensuring proper maintenance of their boat and machinery. We are glad today had a good outcome.”

Here’s some advice from the RNLI on how you can stay safe at sea while fishing:

  • Always wear a personal flotation device (PFD). Make sure it is fit for purpose and correctly maintained. A 2019 UK law states that it is mandatory for fishermen to wear a PFD on any open deck, unless they have a risk assessment that shows they cannot fall overboard.
  • Carry a means of calling for help. Consider attaching a personal locator beacon (PLB) to your PFD, so it’s in reach at all times – particularly in a man overboard situation. Make sure you know how to activate your PLB in an emergency.
  • Have a man overboard recovery plan. Choose a recovery device suitable for your vessel and make sure everyone onboard knows the plan and has practised it.
  • Check vessel stability. By keeping your vessel’s stability in mind throughout a trip, you can significantly reduce the risk of capsize, leaking or swamping.
  • Update deck machinery if identified as potentially dangerous. All crew should be fully trained on the equipment they are using, and regular risk assessments should be carried out to spot hazards and dangers on deck.


Source: Press Release

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