Marine News

Sent in by John Kinsman, operations manager at St Monans Coastwatch, Fife. Featured image shows the Longhope lifeboat T.G.B photo credit: RNLI, the Longhope LIfeboat musuem.

Tributes to lifeboat legend

A lifeboat station at the centre of one of the country’s worst tragedies had paid tribute to a former crew man who had one of the most poignant escapes from the disaster. Longhope lifeboat in Orkney said Billy Budge who has died at age of 81 “was a legend in his own time”.

It was on March 17th 1969 that Billy stepped aside to allow his best mate Eric McFadyen to board the Longhope lifeboat T.G.B.
“Little did he know that this would be the last time that he would see him alive. Later that evening the lifeboat capsized with the loss of all crew”, said a tribute issued by the lifeboat station.

“The tragic events of that night had a profound effect on Billy and, when the time came to form a new crew he was one of the first volunteers to step forward.

“Perhaps best remembered by many as a musician, wordsmith and raconteur, Billy spent most of his life as a creel fisherman in the Pentland Firth.

“He served with the Longhope lifeboat from 1969 to 1994 becoming coxswain in 1988. For his service to the lifeboat service he was award the MBE. After his retirement, Billy and his wife Maggie both being well known around the north of Scotland visited other lifeboat stations catching up with many great friends they had made over the years with RNLI .Billy was a true character in the broadest sense of the word and will be sadly missed by all who knew him”.

The night of the disaster, the Longhope lifeboat had set out to help a cargo ship adrift in a storm. The next day, the lifeboat was found floating upside down in the Pentland Firth. The vessel is believed to have been overturned by a freak wave, possibly 100ft high. When the lifeboat was recovered, the bodies of all but one of the crew were inside the hull.

It was one of the worst lifeboat tragedies in British lifeboat history, but led to research into the development of new self-righting boats.

Houseboat sinks

Two people had to rescued after their houseboat sank off the coast in the north sea.
Wick lifeboat was launched at 4.40am when the vessel began taking on water half a mile off Badges on the coast of Caithness.
The rescue team made their way to the scene at full speed but when they arrived a 5.10am the house boat had sunk.
The two occupants were taking the vessel from Helmsdale to Scourie, on the north-west coast but when the boat began to sink they managed to board a life raft.
The lifeboat crew took them back to Wick harbour to the care of an ambulance crew where they were assessed by paramedics. Both persons were reported to be well and unhurt.

Fisherman dies

A 61 year old fisherman died after a boat capsized off the north east coast.
Three men were on board the small fishing boat when it flooded and overturned near Catterline. A passing fishing boat spotted the capsized boat and managed to pull one man to safety and raise the alarm Local boats began searching for the other two people while three lifeboat crews and coastguards rescue helicopter was sent to the scene.
The other two men, aged 67 and 58, were picked up by an off shore supply vessel and later transferred to a lifeboat.

Coastwatch St Monans

Over the past few weeks Coastwatch St Monans team have been busy with a number of incidents including keeping a lookout for kayakers, a missing person, and search for a missing swimmer.
While on watch in their lookout station they observed a luxury yacht hired by actor Tom Cruise. The sighting of the yacht attracted a lot of attention from both locals and visitors alike. The yacht named Triple Seven spent several days off the east Neuk coast between St Monans, Elie and Pittenweem. The picture shows the yacht off St Monans.


Coastwatch St Monans Station will over the next few weeks undergo a refurbishment. The work will include painting the 40 stairs leading from the down stairs control room to the upper tower lookout, painting the down stairs control room, and main lookout door. The station is based in a historic windmill on the coastal path just east of the village of St Monans. The station manned by volunteers was opened in 2009 and covers 12 miles of coastline from Pittenweem to Largo Bay. They work closely with HM Coasguard and are on 24/7 call for any emergency and are alerted by pagers if required by HM coastguard. The cost of the work is being paid for by Coastwatch

The station has also received a generous donation from Tunnocks, who have given 300 hundred tea cakes and 300 caramel wafers for the St Monans team members. Thank you to Boyd Tunnock for this fantastic donation which will keep our team in snacks for a while!

Station deputy manager Anne Kinsman with the donated Tunnocks