Busy Bank Holiday Weekend for RNLI in Scotland
Volunteer lifeboat crews in Scotland responded to 23 different incidents across the bank holiday weekend from drifting inflatables to a family of kayakers in distress.
While much of Scotland was enjoying a long bank holiday weekend relaxing in the sun the country’s volunteer lifeboat crews were hard at work ensuring the safety of those out enjoying the water. Troon’s volunteer lifeboat crew may have been looking forward to a relaxing weekend but there was little respite from their pagers which alerted them to four different situations across the weekend. From assisting a jet skier whose vessel had broken down to recovering inflatables and conducting a search for anybody who may have drifted out to sea with them, the crew certainly had a busy weekend.
Speaking about the use of inflatables in the sea, Joe Millar Troon Lifeboat Coxswain said: ‘Inflatables are designed for pools, not the sea especially when the wind is blowing offshore and they can quickly be blown out to sea.
'If you do see someone in trouble at sea or on the coast, dial 999 and ask for the Coastguard.'
Meanwhile further up the same coast in the volunteer lifeboat crew at Kyle of Lochalsh responded to an urgent ‘Pan Pan’ distress call from a group of kayakers and canoeists who had been caught out by a sudden change in weather conditions.
The volunteer lifeboat crew quickly located the family group of two adults and a three year old child, who had safely made it to shore and were sheltering from the swell. Two of the lifeboat crew members went ashore to ensure everyone was accounted for, and to ensure there were no injuries. Once it was established everyone was safe the crew transferred the casualties to the lifeboat and took the canoe under tow back to Toscaig, where the group had set off from.
A spokesperson for the RNLI at Kyle of Lochalsh said: ‘The family were well prepared for their kayaking trip but were caught out by the weather. They were all wearing lifejackets and were carrying a means of calling for help, a VHF radio, two key things that we encourage all kayakers to do in order to stay safe on the water. The family absolutely did the right thing in calling for help, we were very happy to assist them.’
At other locations throughout Scotland the RNLI assisted in searches for vessels reported missing, distressed coastal walkers and reports of capsized dinghies.
The RNLI recently launched its summer Respect the Water campaign which reminds people what to do should they find themselves suddenly in cold water. If you get into trouble in cold water, the RNLI’s advice is to float on your back for a short time to regain control of your breathing.
Mike Tipton MBE, Professor of Human and Applied Physiology at the University of Portsmouth, and world leading expert in cold water shock explains:
‘The instinctive human reaction on immersion in cold water is a potential killer as this can cause panic and thrashing around, increasing the chances of breathing in water. This also lets trapped air escape from clothing, reducing buoyancy.
‘Although it’s counter intuitive, the best immediate course of action is to fight your instinct and float on your back. Once you’ve gained control of your breathing you can swim to safety, call for help, or continue to float until help arrives. Doing this will give you a much better chance of surviving.’
Notes to Editors
The RNLI has created a new video https://www.respectthewater.com/ explaining the five steps to floating, to help give people the confidence to be able to float if they find themselves in trouble in cold water.
For those planning to go into the water, the best way to enjoy it safely is to choose a lifeguarded beach and swim between the red and yellow flags – the area most closely monitored by the lifeguards. And if you see someone else in danger in the water at the coast, fight your instinct to go in and try to rescue them yourself, instead call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coastguard.’
The Respect the Water campaign will run throughout the summer with advertising across cinema, outdoor posters, radio, online, and catch-up TV channels. The RNLI is asking people to visit RNLI.org/RespectTheWater where they will find information on floating. On social media search #RespectTheWater #FloatToLive.
RNLI media contacts
Gemma McDonald, RNLI Regional Media Officer for Scotland, 01738 642956, 07826 900639, email@example.com
Henry Weaver, RNLI Regional Media Manager for Scotland, 01738 642986, 07771 943026, firstname.lastname@example.org
RNLI Press Office, 01202 336789
Key facts about the RNLI
The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates over 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and, in a normal year, more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.