THE crew of Fisherrow Yacht Club’s safety boat was involved in an unexpected rescue in the Firth of Forth near Musselburgh last Saturday afternoon.

The sailors had ventured out on the RIB Red Fox for a short time to recharge its battery and practise driving manoeuvres when they became aware of a fishing boat which was also out on the water.

Club member Paul Hay said: “Due to deteriorating weather, we decided to head for home.

“We noticed the fisherman waving with both hands and we immediately thought he wanted us away from his fishing lines but then soon realised he was in distress.

“We were quickly over at the boat’s side and were informed that both his outboards had failed. We informed another club member of the incident on the radio.

“With the weather closing in, we held the rib steady whilst securing a tow rope and continually communicating with the fishing boat skipper and crew ensuring all was safe.

“We tentatively pulled the boat in towards the harbour. This took around 20 minutes as we were against the tide. All was well through the harbour mouth and we slowly passed the fishing boat’s mooring. With the Red Fox in neutral, the wind blew the boat safely home to its berth.”

Colin Robertson, club commodore, issued safety advice to sailors in the wake of the incident.

He said: “It is crucial that all vessels going out on the water must have a means of communication to be able to raise a distress call in times of need – essential if going out alone but could be on an accompanying vessel if they are keeping together. This should preferably be via a VHF radio using channel 16 to call the coastguard and other rescue services can be alerted. The VHF radio can be used as a homing signal. Alternatively and if close enough to shore, a mobile phone can be used but this is less effective overall.

“All those on board should have life jackets and ideally should be wearing them. Equipment on which your life may depend should be regularly serviced and be in good working order.

“Courses in powerboat driving and in VHF radio are available from several Forth Estuary authorised sailing centres including Fisherrow Yacht Club. Courses are detailed at