A WOMAN has been rescued by lifeboat volunteers as she clung to a sailing dinghy in the Firth of Forth at the weekend.
The woman was with two other people on the small vessel, one of them a nine-year-old girl, when it got into difficulty sailing south of Inchkeith Island on Saturday morning.
They called for help with an onboard VHF radio and the Kinghorn RNLI Lifeboat set out just before 10:30am and reached the dinghy within seven minutes. The woman, from West Lothian, had fallen overboard and was clinging to the stern of the boat.
She was helped out of the water into the lifeboat, as was the nine-year-old, and both were assessed at an ambulance on shore. The woman, said to be in her 20s, was taken to Victoria Hospital in Kirkcaldy to be checked out.
The third individual, a man in his 30s from Portobello, was uninjured and was escorted back to shore. Lifeboat helmsman Scott McIlravie, one of five volunteers who came to the rescue, said: “Communications were difficult, although they thankfully had a VHF radio on board so we were able to use our direction finding equipment to locate the boat around half a mile south of the island.
“We quickly assessed the situation on arrival and found a female in the water clinging to the back of the dinghy. One of our team jumped into the water to get hold of her, and she was then brought to safety on the lifeboat.
“The second crew member on the boat was a young girl and she was also taken on to the lifeboat to be taken back to Kinghorn where an ambulance was waiting to assess both casualties.
“Both casualties were cold and distressed, with the woman suffering from the early stages of hypothermia. The sailing dinghy then made its way back towards Portobello, escorted back, for safety, by a Police Scotland boat which was working in the area.”
He added: “It was fortunate that this vessel had a VHF radio on board today. There was very little chance that the woman would have got back on board the dinghy today without assistance. Since the vessel was able to call for assistance immediately, and we were then able to find the boat quickly, this lady fortunately had a very lucky escape.”
Mr McIllravie said they recommend prior to any trip that the weather forecast is checked and that everyone has the correct level of experience for the conditions and the correct type of properly fitting protective clothing.
The RNLI has recently launched a campaign called “Respect The Water” aimed at reducing the number of drownings and fatalities around the UK coast.