The lifeboat was asked to launch by Clyde Coastguard after a report had been received that a Distress Flare had been fired off Old Kilpatrick. After the lifeboat launched at 17:04 hrs, efforts were made to clarify the nature of the report while the boat was progressing to the locus. At 17:17 hrs, Clyde Coastguard received a report from a Coastguard Auxiliary Unit that a person was standing on the old ferry slipway at Erskine, blowing a whistle and flashing a lamp. The lifeboat arrived at the locus at 17:34 hrs, where, assisted by a Fire and Rescue craft, a search of the area was conducted with nothing found on the water. At 18:00 hrs, however, the lifeboat found a lifejacket tied to a tree on the South side of the River Clyde approximately ½ mile up river from the bridge. It was agreed that this looked like a false alarm with good intent by the originator, however was probably malicious by person/persons unknown blowing the lifejacket’s whistle and flashing a torch. The lifeboat returned to base and was reported ready for service again at 19:21 hrs.
At 07:51 hrs, Clyde Coastguard paged the station Launching Authority to request lifeboat assistance. A report had been received that a 22’ yacht was aground at the mouth of the River Leven and in difficulty. The German owner of the yacht was at Sandpoint Marina with a hand-held VHF radio. Although there was no life at risk, Clyde Coastguard wished to resolve the matter. The Lifeboat Operations Manager agreed to launch and the crew were paged. After launching at 08:08 hrs, the lifeboat proceeded to the locus where they located the yacht in the River Leven some 500metres North of Sandpoint Marina. The owner of the vessel had re-sited the anchor the day before, and unfortunately, in shallower water the boat had gone aground on the ebb tide and was taking in water. The lifeboat crew used the salvage pump to dry the boat out, and with the assistance of the Coastguard Auxiliary Team, made the boat secure with lines to the shore. The operation was complicated by the fact the river was in spate at the time and an estimated 10 knot current was running. To further complicate matters, the owner had been living on the boat for the last two months and all his worldly goods were floating about the cabin hindering the salvage operation. Dumbarton Boat Club came to his assistance after the event and made a Portacabin available to him in which he could store his gear. When the situation had been satisfactorily resolved, the lifeboat returned to station.
Clyde Coastguard paged the station Launching Authority at 18:37 hrs after receiving a call for assistance from the crew of a 30’ jet drive cabin cruiser who reported that they had gone aground opposite Coulport Naval Base, Loch Long. The call was made by mobile phone. The crew was paged and the lifeboat launched at 18:48 hrs. At the locus, the lifeboat crew located the cabin cruiser hard aground on Knap Rock in 18” of water. Knap Rock is some 20 metres from the high water mark and is a known and charted hazard. The cabin cruiser was holed at the bow after having hit the rock at an estimated 20 knots (minimum), resulting in a 3’ hole down the stem thro which a crew member could put his arm. Two of the four persons on board the cabin cruiser were suffering ill effects after the collision and it was agreed that they would be taken to Carrick Castle where they had left their car. One lifeboat crew member was left with the casualty vessel and two remaining crew. At Carrick Castle, the two crew suffering ill effects were landed. Both declined medical assistance despite being advised by the lifeboat crew that they should get a check-up. While the lifeboat was returning to the casualty, the owner of the cabin cruiser started the boat’s engine and was making attempts to re-float his vessel despite being advised to the contrary by the on-scene lifeboat crew member. As the hole in the hull was below the water line, even while hard aground on the rock, the boat started to flood. When he realised that he was taking in water rapidly, he then tried to drive it up the beach. In doing so, he positioned the boat such that sea water was flooding in thro’ the scuppers in the rising tide. The lifeboat had arrived back on scene by this time and all parties agreed that re-floating the vessel was not an option as it would sink. The vessel was secured fore and aft, as much gear removed as possible, and the crew taken back to Carrick Castle where they were landed with their gear. The lifeboat returned to base where it was reported ready for service again at 22:00 hrs.
While out on exercise, the lifeboat was tasked by Clyde Coastguard to an incident involving a diver at Ardgarten, Loch Long. The diver had apparently got into difficulty at 8 metres and had ingested sea water while ascending. The lifeboat was asked to stand down before reaching the locus as the casualty was being attended to by an ambulance crew.
Clyde Coastguard telephoned the station Lifeboat Operations Manager at 21:20 hrs after they had received a request from the Police for assistance. Apparently a person was thought to be in the water in front of the Firth Hotel, Gourock, after he had been heard to say that he were going to commit suicide. Although there was some doubt as to whether he had done so or not, the Police had requested that the report be checked. The Lifeboat Operations Manager agreed to launch the lifeboat and paged the crew. Once mustered, the crew launched at 21:30 hrs and proceeded to the locus where they conducted a search of the area until 22:02 hrs when the search was called off by Clyde Coastguard. The missing person had apparently been found by the Police safe and well at the home of his parents. Helensburgh Lifeboat was back on station again and reported ready for service at 22:32 hrs.
Clyde Coastguard paged a ‘Launch Request’ signal after receiving a call for assistance from a charter yacht reported to be aground on the ‘Cockle Bank’. The lifeboat launched at 12:12 hrs and proceeded to the locus where they located the casualty vessel (‘Kate’), which was roughly 1.5 cables out of the navigable river channel. Although the crew of Kate had charts, they were unfamiliar with the area. As the tide was on the flood again, the lifeboat re-floated the casualty without any difficulty and towed it back into the channel, after which time the ‘Kate’ proceeded on her merry way. The lifeboat returned to station where it was reported ready for service again at 13:36 hrs.
At 17:36 hrs, Clyde Coastguard telephoned the station Launching Authority after information had been received from Strathclyde Police that a car had been found abandoned on Erskine Bridge. The whereabouts of the owner, a 70 year old male, were unknown. The lifeboat launched at 17:40 hrs and proceeded to the locus where they rendezvoused with a Police Rib, a Dory and two Jetskis from Fire and Rescue in addition to Coastguard Auxiliary Units. It was understood that the Police Helicopter had also been on scene briefly however had departed by the time the lifeboat reached the bridge. Clyde Coastguard requested that the lifeboat co-ordinate the search between Bowling Harbour and the HCI Hospital which they did. At 18:40 hrs, after a thorough search of the area had been conducted with nothing found, all parties were asked to stand down. The lifeboat returned to base and was reported ready for service again at 19:20 hrs. (As it turned out, the car had broken down and the owner had gone to arrange a tow!).
Clyde Coastguard paged the station Lifeboat Operations Manager at 05:08 hrs to advise that there was a vessel with three persons on board aground on Perch Rock and requiring assistance. Clyde Coastguard advised that there was an MoD Police Launch on scene however it was unable to get in close enough to be of any assistance. The Lifeboat Operations Manager agreed to launch and see if the lifeboat could assist with re-floating the yacht despite having some reservations about the lifeboat’s ability to do so due to the state of the ebbing tide. When assembled, the crew launched the lifeboat and proceeded to the locus where they found the yacht ‘Far Cry’ high and dry on Perch Rock as advised. As there was no chance of re-floating the vessel, and with the crew of Far Cry well and happy to stay on board, the lifeboat returned to base after agreeing to return about mid-day to assist with the re-float. At 11:25 hrs, the crew assembled again and returned to Perch Rock where they found the Far Cry afloat again however with no power and unable to proceed. The lifeboat towed the Far Cry back to Rhu Marina where it was lifted out of the water to check for hull damage and to resolve the power problem. The lifeboat was recovered and reported ready for service again at 12:25 hrs.
At 15:55 hrs, Clyde Coastguard paged a ‘Launch Request’ signal after receiving a report that there was a vessel on fire off the Greenock Esplanade. The Lifeboat Operations Manager paged the crew and the lifeboat was launched at 16:00 hrs. After requesting further details of the casualty’s position from Clyde Coastguard, the lifeboat located the vessel, a 25’ motor cruiser with dark blue hull and white wheelhouse, reporting that they were alongside at 16:06 hrs. Clyde Coastguard were advised by the lifeboat shortly after that there was no fire evident however the engine had overheated and the cabin was very smoky. No medical assistance was required. It was agreed that the lifeboat would tow the casualty , the ’TS Gold Rover’, back to the Great Harbour. While on passage with the casualty to the Great Harbour however, a Sea Cadet vessel, the ‘Lullabel’, offered to take over the tow. This was discussed and agreed with Clyde Coastguard and the lifeboat released at 16:27 hrs. The lifeboat was back on station and reported ready for service again at 17:00 hrs.