RNLI Queensferry busiest single boat station

The Queensferry crew had a busy time. Picture: Joey Kelly
The Queensferry crew had a busy time. Picture: Joey Kelly
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LIFEBOAT crews believe a surge in tourists was responsible for another busy year.

Queensferry teams attended 67 incidents last year, ­compared with 49 in 2013, making it the third-busiest ­lifeboat ­station in Scotland.

And it remains the busiest single-boat station in the country, according to the new figures.

Bosses believe an influx of overseas visitors unfamiliar with tide patterns have contributed to the increase.

Cramond Island has become a notorious troublespot, with tourists not realising they can be easily stranded.

David Smart, lifeboat operations manager for Queensferry, said: “We are not very far off our record. There are an increasing number of foreign nationals who get stuck or in difficulty.

“In the Mediterranean they don’t have much in the way of tides and some visitors don’t appreciate they are going to get stuck. But it is not exclusively foreign nationals and we have enough home-grown talent contributing to the problem.”

Queensferry crews rescued 128 people in 2013, and 161 last year. The highest ever number of callouts was 74 in 2010, ­followed by 73 in 2003, 71 in 2001 and 70 in 2009.

Broughty Ferry in Dundee was Scotland’s busiest lifeboat station last year, with 74 shouts followed by Oban with 68.

The figures don’t include incidents when crews were scrambled to an incident only to be stood down.

Helmsman Mike Garfitt said people stranded by incoming tides on Cramond Island ­continued to be the biggest problem faced by crews.

“The Cramond Island ­situation is made more ­difficult if people try to cross or wade back over when the tide is ­coming in,” he said.

Advice for visitors to Cramond Island who find ­themselves stranded is to call 999 and ask for the ­Coastguard, with the volunteer crew of the Queensferry ­lifeboat on call 24/7.

They can get safe crossing times from the RNLI before the set out on the tidal causeway by texting the word CRAMOND to 81400.

The phone service was ­introduced after nearly 600 people were rescued from Cramond Island in five years between 2008 and 2013.

Across Scotland, 1175 people were rescued in 2014, ­compared with 1008 the ­previous year.

The total number of incidents was 1004, a slight rise from 995 in 2013.

Michael Avril, the RNLI’s community incident reduction manager in Scotland, said: “Always check tide times before taking to the water.”