Kinghorn lifeboat warning after four call-outs in a week

Kinghorn lifeboat crew with inflatable. Pic RNLI/Neil Chalmers
Kinghorn lifeboat crew with inflatable. Pic RNLI/Neil Chalmers

Kinghorn’s voluntary lifeboat crew has appealed to bathers to take great care with inflatables on the water after a spate of incidents over the past week.

The lifeboat has been called out four times in the past eight days after inflatable toys were blown offshore, one which had a young child on board.

Inflatables have been blown off beaches at Kirkcaldy, Longniddrie and twice from Portobello.

On Sunday evening, an inflatable puffin was reported drifting 700 metres off Portobello beach. A search was launched with Kinghorn Lifeboat, Fisherrow, North Berwick and Queensferry coastguard rescue teams, as well as the UK Coastguard rescue helicopter from Prestwick undertaking a three-hour search.

After the extensive search, and following discussion with witnesses on the beach, the search was stood down.

Neil Chalmers, the Kinghorn lifeboat helmsman, said: “Due to the incomplete information available, and the possibility of someone being in the water, an extensive search was launched. The coastguard will always err on the side of caution.

“These inflatable toys are not suitable for use on open water and we would urge parents not to take them to the beach. If you do choose to take them to the beach, these toys should be securely tethered to the shore, and they should certainly not be used when the wind is blowing away from the land.

“These toys are easily blown by the wind and can quickly move offshore, particularly with young children. The young girl at Longniddry had a lucky escape but had to be checked out by an ambulance crew once she made it back to shore.

“If you spot an inflatable drifting at sea, or one you are using gets blown away, you should report it to the Coastguard on 999 immediately, giving as much information as possible.

“This will mean the toy can be recovered and prevent a larger search being launched.”