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French sea kayaker rescued in the Sound of Mull

Lifeboats News Release

The volunteer crew of the Tobermory lifeboat Elizabeth Fairlie Ramsay were launched on 9 September 2016 at 4.30pm, responding to a call of two kayakers in difficulties off Salen in the Sound of Mull.

A concerned resident alerted Stornoway coastguard after seeing the kayakers in the sound of Mull, with one of the kayakers having capsized. The kayaker executed a self-recovery but still appeared to be struggling with the sea conditions.

On arrival at the scene it was clear the kayaker that had capsized was struggling, so the coxswain took the decision to bring him aboard the lifeboat, and treat for immersion in cold water.

With the local volunteer coastguard team onshore, the second kayaker made his way to Salen pier under the supervision of the coastguard and the volunteer crew of the Tobermory lifeboat. Once on board the lifeboat crewmembers carried out first aid, at which time it was decided as a precaution to request an ambulance.

The casualty was transferred to Salen pier by means of the small inflatable carried on the Severn Class lifeboat with two crew members on board, where the casualty was handed over to the local ambulance service.

Tobermory lifeboat mechanic Paul Gunn said “This was a situation that could have turned much worse in a very short period of time. It is important regardless of the type of vessel or the level of experience, you should always ensure your intentions are known before going to sea”.

The Tobermory lifeboat returned to the berth and was made ready for service at 6.50pm.

Coxswain: David McHaffie, Mechanic: Paul ‘Gunny’Gunn, Crew: Donald Mitchell, Tony Spillane, Bruce Chapple, Dave Underwood, Michael Stirling.


RNLI media contacts:

Michael Stirling, Tobermory Lifeboat Press Officer on 07921 515686, or

Richard Smith, Public Relations Manager Scotland on 01738 642956, 07786 668903 or

Or Henry Weaver, RNLI Press Officer for Scotland, 01738 642946, 07771 943026,

Or contact RNLI Public Relations on 01202 336789.


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The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is the charity that saves lives at sea. Our volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service in the United Kingdom and Ireland from 238 lifeboat stations, including four along the River Thames and inland lifeboat stations at Loch Ness, Lough Derg, Enniskillen, Carrybridge and Lough Ree. Additionally the RNLI has more than 1,000 lifeguards on over 240 beaches around the UK and operates a specialist flood rescue team, which can respond anywhere across the UK and Ireland when inland flooding puts lives at risk.

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