Kinghorn lifeboat’s lifesaving crews were called out to 71 incidents last year, a rise of around a third on the previous 12 months.
It was the busiest year since 2010 for the volunteer crews who helped rescue or assist 40 people and animals.
One of the biggest requests for help came from people being swept offshore on inflatables during the summer, and during July there were four callouts to inflatable rescues in eight days.
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KFC and Tony Macaroni no-go for Glenrothes Joanne Wibberley, lifeboat operations manager, said: “During the summer the crew responded to a spate of inflatables drifting off beaches on both sides of the Forth. In one incident a young girl and her father were in the water for nearly 20 minutes before they got ashore.
“The RNLI’s campaign Respect the Water continued throughout 2018 with the aim of raising awareness of the risks of water. Figures show that half of the people who end up in the water did not set out with the intention of entering it.
“This has been supported by station personnel taking part in education visits to local schools and youth groups.”
During September crews attended several callouts after dogs became stranded. Their owners took the correct action by contacting the Coastguard for help, rather than putting themselves at risk. Two incidents near the former Cockenzie power station resulted in Coffee and Jura being safely returned to their owners.
During 2018 Kinghorn RNLI also welcomed 10 new volunteers, with the station undertaking a huge amount of training for both new and seasoned crew members.
The volunteers continued to train and work with colleagues from Anstruther, Dunbar, and Queensferry lifeboats as well as RNLI lifeguards, the Coastguard rescue helicopter and local Coastguard rescue teams.
Joanne said: “All of the volunteer crew and our fundraising team have worked very hard again to fund and maintain our 24/7 service.
“We have had around a 30 per cent increase in callouts in 2018, with nearly half of our callouts to people in the water, missing, or stranded in our operational area. Around 16 calls were due to vessels either adrift, grounded, or disabled.”
Fundraising is another major part of the role of volunteers, and 2018 saw the fundraising committee organise and run numerous events throughout the year including the popular annual open day, a Mayday event, fish and chip night, a Christmas shopping event and the annual Loony Dook to name but a few.
Sheona Smith, fundraising chairman, said: “Once again, our events have been extremely well supported and we are grateful to the local community for their continued support.
“We’d like to say a huge thank you from all the volunteers at Kinghorn RNLI for their wonderful support throughout 2018. We have all enjoyed staging our fundraising events and we hope they have enjoyed taking part.
“Our community here in Kinghorn and the surrounding area is second to none in supporting our life saving service. The crew has had a particularly busy year, launching many more times than normal.
“We have had a spectacular year and have contributed almost a third of the £90,000 a year it costs to run an inshore lifeboat station. Our entire volunteer family work hard to ensure we provide a professional rescue service for the Forth and knowing the public is behind us makes it worthwhile.”