Lifeboat launched as boat takes on water off Fife coast

Anstruther RNLI volunteers rushed to the aid of a fisherman when his boat ran aground after taking on water and encountered mechanical failure off the coast of Pittenweem on Thursday.
Both lifeboats were launched from Anstruther on Thursday afternoonBoth lifeboats were launched from Anstruther on Thursday afternoon
Both lifeboats were launched from Anstruther on Thursday afternoon

The crew were paged shortly before 3pm on Thursday when the fisherman raised the alarm on his VHF radio to alert the UK Coastguard to the difficulties he was in.

Nearby fishing vessels made their way to the area and stood by while lifeboats scrambled to the scene.

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Arriving first, the RNLI inshore lifeboat crew began to help manually pump the water out of the stricken vessel.

Following closely behind was the team’s all-weather lifeboat which transferred a salvage pump across to the vessel and began working to get rid of the excess water onboard.

The Helm of the inshore lifeboat carefully pulled the fishing vessel to safety, navigating through the rocks on its way towards open waters and the safety of St Monans harbour.

Meanwhile, a second call for help came in from a nearby fishing vessel who required assistance after becoming entangled on a creel rope.

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The all-weather lifeboat established a tow and helped the vessel into St Monans harbour.

Coxswain Michael Bruce praised the decision making of the fisherman when faced with unforeseen and unavoidable mechanical failure.

He said: “A mayday is the highest level of distress call available and using this ultimately saved the vessel from sinking.

"When the mechanical issues arose, the alternative was to risk deep open waters and attempt a landing into Pittenweem.

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"If the fisherman had chosen this option, we could be looking at a very different outcome. He did the right thing to call for help.”

The quick response of neighbouring vessels when the mayday call was issued was a very welcome one to both the RNLI and the fisherman.

The RNLI said the use of mayday in an emergency certainly served its purpose on this occasion and is a timely reminder to all in what to do if you are, or you see someone, in difficulty.

On a VHF radio, use channel 16 to contact the Coastguard using ‘mayday’ three times before your message.

On a mobile phone, dial 999 and ask for the Coastguard

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