View as PDF

Training exercise escalates into medical incident with open water swimmers.

Lifeboats News Release

The volunteer crew of the Tobermory Severn Class Lifeboat ‘Elizabeth Fairlie Ramsay’ set off for a weekend training exercise in the Isle Mull. By the afternoon, they have assisted two open water swimmers at Lochaline.

Swimmer passes Tobermory Lifeboat on way to the finish line

RNLI/Michael (Mick) Stirling

Swimmer passes Tobermory Lifeboat on way to the finish line

It was intended to be a routine training exercise combined with showing a presence for the open water swim from Fishnish on the Isle of Mull to Lochaline on mainland Scotland.

As the crew departed Tobermory and made their way south down the Sound of Mull to Lochaline all was going as planned. The swimmers and the safety craft were spotted as we were just north of Lochaline. Passing safely around the last of the safety kayaks and onto the wood pier at Lochaline.

Whilst alongside we watched the hardy group passing the Lifeboat to complete the 2.4KM swim across the Sound of mull. One of the safety craft approached and informed they had a swimmer who had succumbed to the cold and requested our assistance.

The swimmer was taken on board the Tobermory lifeboat where the volunteer crew carried out casualty care, as the crew continued to treat the swimmer a second swimmer was also taken on board again having succumbed to the cold. Stornoway coastguard tasked the Scottish ambulance service to the scene.

One the Scottish ambulance service arrived the two swimmers were handed over to their care, and the Tobermory Lifeboat and volunteer crew returned to the berth in Tobermory harbour.

RNLI media contacts:

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

Returning to tobermory

RNLI/Michael (Mick) Stirling

Returning to Tobermory

Key facts about the RNLI

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.

The RNLI relies on public donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. As a charity it is separate from, but works alongside, government-controlled and funded coastguard services. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824 our lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved at least 140,000 lives. Volunteers make up 95% of the charity, including 4,600 volunteer lifeboat crew members and 3,000 volunteer shore crew. Additionally, tens of thousands of other dedicated volunteers raise funds and awareness, give safety advice, and help in our museums, shops and offices.

Learn more about the RNLI

For more information please visit the RNLI website or Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. News releases, videos and photos are available on the News Centre.

Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 or by email.


The RNLI is a charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SC037736). Charity number 20003326 in the Republic of Ireland