Helensburgh Lifeboat Crew was paged at 02:07 hrs after Clyde Coastguard received a report that a man was in the River Clyde close to Gourock Train Station. After a prompt crew assembly, the ILB was launched at 02:16 hrs and proceeded to the scene where they located a man in his mid 20s swimming some 100 yards off shore close to the outdoor bathing pool. The man had been drinking. After taking him on board the ILB, the man was given oxygen and wrapped in a blanket until he was landed and taken to an awaiting ambulance. The man had been in the water for an estimated 20 - 30 minute and was cold and very tired. Undoubtedly, had he not been rescued by the lifeboat, the man would have drowned. At 02:42 hrs, the crew advised Clyde Coastguard that the man was in the ambulance and that they were returning to base. The lifeboat was reported to be ready for service again at 03:21 hrs.
The Trophy was not awarded in 2010 as none of the 'shouts' undertaken during the year were considered to be particularly 'effective'.
The lifeboat crew was paged at 13:12 hrs and tasked with going to the assistance of a person on a yacht who had reportedly injured himself while picking up his mooring in the Gareloch. After locating the yacht, the lifeboat crew found the injured man in the yacht’s cockpit with a suspected back or hip injury. Although the man did not remember exactly what had happened, he had sustained his injury while picking up his mooring and had managed to get back to the cockpit to summon assistance. He was on his own in the yacht at the time. As it was going to require additional manpower to evacuate the casualty without causing further injury, two of the lifeboat crew remained with him while the third crew member returned in the lifeboat to pick up additional lifeboat crew members. Clyde Coastguard set up a link call from the ILB to a Doctor in order to discuss the extent and seriousness of the injuries. It was agreed that the best course of action would be to leave the casualty where he was in the cockpit, supported by lifeboat crew, and to tow the yacht back to Rhu Marina where he could be evacuated under more controlled conditions. While the yacht was under tow, the lifeboat crew also spoke on VHF radio with Ambulance Paramedics who were now at the lifeboat station. At 14:14 hrs, the ILB and yacht were tied alongside at Rhu Marina where the injured man was transferred to the ambulance and taken to hospital. Thereafter the yacht was made secure and the ILB returned to station, reporting ready for service again at 15:10 hrs.
The Trophy was not awarded in 2008 as none of the 'shouts' undertaken during the year were considered to be particularly 'effective'.
The crew was paged at 00:41 hrs after Clyde Coastguard received a report that there was a person clinging to the stern of a yacht in Cardwell Bay. The lifeboat launched at 00:49 hours and proceeded to the locus where they were guided to the casualty by a Greenock Auxiliary Coastguard Unit. At 00:57 hrs, the crew found a middle aged male in the water at the stern of a yacht, supported by another male who was in the boat. The casualty in the water was barely coherent and unable to hold on by himself. The person in the boat was exhausted and about to loose his grip which would undoubtedly have resulted in the casualty drowning. The lifeboat took both persons on board and provided the hypothermic casualty with oxygen as they made for shore and an awaiting ambulance. With both persons safely ashore, the lifeboat then returned to station and was reported ready for service again at 01:50 hrs.
The exact circumstances of how the casualty ended up in the water are unclear however it is understood that his own vessel, a 23’ cabin cruiser had sunk. How the other male had got onto the yacht is also unclear as no tender was seen by the lifeboat crew.
Of note is the fact that the casualty was out of the water in 16 minutes from the time that the crew was paged.
At 14:02 hrs, the crew was paged after Clyde Coastguard received a MAYDAY call from the yacht SKIMBLE SHANKS, a Sigma 33. The wife of the owner had been hit on the head by the yacht's boom and had been rendered unconscious. The crew assembled and the ILB launched at 14:08 hrs. Four minutes later the ILB was alongside the casualty vessel. Although the female casualty had recovered consciousness, it was agreed that she should be transferred to Inverclyde Hospital, Greenock, for a check-up. As the ILB crew felt that she should be transferred on a spinal board, one crew member was left on the Skimble Shanks to attend to the casualty while the ILB proceeded to Greenock where an ambulance technician was waiting with a spinal board. While this was happening Oxygen was given to the casualty. By 14:34 hrs, the ILB was back alongside the casualty vessel. Once secured on the spinal board, the casualty was transferred to the ILB which then proceeded back to Greenock, where the casualty was taken to Inverclyde Hospital by ambulance. The casualty made a full recovery.
During the afternoon of Saturday 4th June, Helensburgh ILB was participating in the annual 'Faslane Fair' is organised by staff at Faslane Naval Base. This is a major annual event and raises a lot of money for charity. As usually happens, Helensburgh ILB and a Sea King helicopter from HMS Gannet were puting on an Air-Sea Rescue Demonstration. At 14:09 hrs, Clyde MRCC contacted the ILB to advise that they had received a 999 call from a yacht off Helensburgh Pier who reported that they had a fire on board. The casualty vessel was a 35' sloop (Day Dream) and could be identified as one of its crew was standing on the bow with a hand-held orange smoke flare. Two crew members from the ILB who were put on board the yacht discovered that there had been a fire in the engine compartment. Although one of the yacht's crew had tried to put the fire out with a Dry Powder extinguisher, they had not entirely succeeded. Water from the bilges was used to extinguish the remaining burning insulation plastic, and also one of the cabin cushions which was smoldering. While the ILB crew were extinguishing the fire, three children and two adults were transferred from the yacht to the Police Launch 'Condor'. Once the fire was extinguished, the ILB crew helped a third female casualty out of the forward hatch of the yacht - she had been trapped in the forepeak and could not get back thro' the cabin. When the situation was under control, Helesburgh ILB towed the yacht back to Rhu Marine accompanied by Police Launch Condor who had the three children and three adults from the yacht. Once the yacht was secured in the marina and its crew safely ashore, the ILB and Police Launch returned to continue participating in the Fair.
At 02:58 hrs on Thursday 31st August, 1995, immediate launch of the lifeboat was requested after a 999 call had been received regarding a diver missing near Ardgarten on the West side of Loch Long. The diver had entered the water at 01:10 hrs with approx 35 minutes air supply and become separated from his colleagues who had found his torch on the bottom. A detailed search of the sea area was carried out by Helensburgh ILB, an MoD Police launch and RiBs, and an SAR helicopter from Prestwick. Coastguard Auxiliary units from Kilcreggan, Helensburgh, Dunoon, Lochgoilhead and Inveraray walked the shoreline on both sides of the loch. After re-fuelling and changing the ILB crew at 06:00 hrs, the search continued until 07:25 hrs, at which time, with nothing found, the search was called off.
The diver was eventually found unconscious by the roadside on the A814 by a passing cyclist, 2 miles South of Arrochar, at approx 11:30hrs. After decompression at RN Faslane and treatment at the Vale of Leven Hospital, he was allowed home. He informed Police that he had been attacked by a large conger eel, entangled in fishing gear, which he had disturbed. The gear caught round his neck and he was dragged a considerable distance underwater before cutting himself free.
At 19:50 hrs on Saturday 24th June, 1995, Clyde MRCC telephoned the Lifeboat Operations Manager to discuss the possibility of launching to assist at Cardross where two horses were trapped by the rising tide. The Fire Brigade had already been alerted. As the owners, two 13/14 year old girls, were still in the water launch was agreed and the crew paged immediately. On reaching the scene it was found that the horses were lying in the water totally unable to stand as they were sinking in the soft mud. Owners were ashore having been persuaded to abandon the horses. Attempts were being made to haul the horses ashore using flat fire hoses and pneumatic lifting gear. As the operation was proving difficult, 4 further crew members were despatched to the scene by car. Eventually the horses were hauled ashore a few meters at a time until they reached firmer ground where they were checked by a Vet. ILB and other crew members then returned to station.
On Monday 11th May, 1992, shortly after being re-housed aftre returning from a service call to Dunoon, Clyde Coastguard telephoned the boathouse to request launch to look for a rowing skiff on a training row from Greenock which had run into difficulties on the return journey. There were six people on board the skiff. In a Southerly Force 7, the lifeboat launched again at 21:25 hrs into a 2 metre sea and proceeded to Rosneath Point where the crew carried out a search to Helensburgh, Cairndhu Point and back to Rosneath. As darkness was falling, the lifeboat contacted Clyde Coastguard to contact MoD Police and to request assistance – Police Boat ‘Agility’ was called to the area. With ‘Agility’ now involved, the lifeboat continued the search towards Kilcreggan and during this, the main and emergency radio aerials broke as a result of the very rough sea conditions. As the lifeboat was attempting to contact ‘Agility’ a white mini flare was seen – it had been fired by two Royal Marines in a canoe after they had capsized. The lifeboat located the Marines and took them on board, however had to abandon the canoe when red mini flares were sighted. The lifeboat found another upturned canoe with two Marines in the water. The lifeboat now had 4 Marines and one canoe on board. ‘Agility’ had meanwhile found the rowing skiff off Helensburgh sea front (at 22:17 hrs) however could not get alongside in the very rough conditions, and therefore had fired a red flare to attract the attention of the lifeboat. On reaching the scene, the lifeboat took the six men from the skiff on board and took all 10 survivors (and the canoe) to Rhu Marina where they were safely landed. Meanwhile the skiff had been taken ashore by a Royal Marines RIB. Heavy seas at the lifeboat slip meant recovery inadvisable and therefore the lifeboat was moored in the Marina overnight and rehoused in the morning. The lifeboat was refuelled and ready for service again at 23:18 hrs.
At 20:55 hrs, the Deputy Launching Authority was informed that urgent assistance was required 1.5 cables North of Kip Marina where Largs Lifeboat had had a total power failure while attempting to assist a stranded motor yacht and also the Strathclyde Police launch. As the crew were at the boathouse having just re-fuelled the boat after a previous rescue, the lifeboat was launched 2 minutes later in wind force 7 conditions, and on arrival at the incident found a large motor yacht stranded and holed some 50 yards from the shore with the Largs lifeboat alongside - nearby was the Strathclyde Police launch which had gone to assist and had itself been stranded and holed forward. The lifeboat first towed Largs lifeboat (with crew and persons from the original casualty on board) to Kip Marina. The Police launch in the meantime was unable, with a manual pump, to control the intake of water and had requested more powerful pumps. Helensburgh lifeboat then ferried 3 pumps and 3 firemen from Kip Marina to the Police launch which was then able to keep the water level under control. The lifeboat was then able to tow the Police launch some 2 cables off shore where the Clyde Pilot vessel ‘Gantocks’ was standing by to assist. The tow was passed to the ‘Gantocks’ which then proceeded to Kip marina where the Police launch was lifted out of the water by the boat hoist. By this time Troon Lifeboat, which had also been called, was standing off ready to assist but unable to do so – the casualties being in shallow water on a foul shore. At this stage the proposal that the lifeboat lay out a kedge for the motor yacht was abandoned in view of the deteriorating conditions and the lifeboat therefore returned to station.
At 16:02 hrs Clyde Coastguard informed the station Launching Authority that a ‘mayday’ had been received from a cabin cruiser with 2 persons on board near the mouth of the Holy Loch. The crew pagers were activated and the lifeboat susequently launched at 16:07 hrs in near gale conditions which intensified as the lifeboat rounded Rosneath Point into the more exposed Firth. Off Kilcreggan both crewmen, although holding on as tightly as possible were thrown violently forwards when the lifeboat was stopped by a huge wave with one crew member sustained bruising to his nose and a blow on the side of the head; he was able to continue effectively. Both crew members lost their protective bump caps overboard. At 16:22 hrs the casualty radioed that she was close to the Loch Long buoy and could see the car ferry 'Sound of Scarba’, which had been diverted to the area by the Coastguard. The lifeboat reached the casualty, which had engine failure, at 16:27 hrs and took off the 2 survivors (both US seamen) for their own safety as the cabin cruiser was rolling and pitching violently in the near gale conditions. The lifeboat helmsman correctly decided not to attempt to take the casualty in tow but requested that the ‘Sound of Scarba’ do so. One of the lifeboat crew members was put on board the casualty and successfully secured a towline which was passed from the ‘Sound of Scarba’. Once the 2 US seamen were landed in the Holy Loch and their vessel made secure again, the ILB returned to station.