RNLI volunteers battled three-metre waves, winds of up to 60 miles per hour and darkness to tow a stricken fishing vessel to safety.

Dunbar’s lifeboat crew were called out at about 2.25am on Sunday to assist colleagues from Anstruther, Fife, to help a fishing boat stranded without power near the Isle of May.

The Ullapool-registered vessel lost its steering and then suffered engine failure after setting sail from Eyemouth at midnight for a night’s fishing.

Dunbar’s all-weather lifeboat (ALB) was requested by UK Coastguard and joined colleagues in the Firth of Forth.

The Fife lifeboat had already started towing the fishing boat towards Pittenweem harbour in the hope that the pair of lifeboats would be able to manoeuvre the vessel in there. Dunbar’s ALB took over the tow but by 4am it was clear, with an ebbing tide, that it would not be possible to safely enter the harbour.

The decision was made to take the boat to Methil, further west along the Fife coast, where the tide would be favourable at about 11am.

In worsening conditions, amid three-metre waves and high winds with gusts of up to 60mph, the two crews safely moored the boat into Methil harbour shortly after 11am.

Gordon Mackay, Dunbar deputy second coxswain, said: “We were more than happy to assist our RNLI colleagues at Anstruther.

“It was a tricky job in challenging conditions and we were delighted it went well.

“We are grateful for the help of Anstruther crew and in particular Will Wood, who joined us on board to provide vital local knowledge.

“We’re also grateful to Leanne Taylor, helm at Kinghorn lifeboat, who was on duty at Methil and kindly provided some much-needed sustenance after 10 hours at sea!”