Tobermory RNLI responds to two medical incidents in 24 hours

Lifeboats News Release

In the week that many of Tobermory RNLI’s volunteer crew had undergone three days of intensive casualty care training, their skills were put into practice twice during the weekend.

Tobermory lifeboat approaching Oban's berth

RNLI/Leonie Mead

Tobermory lifeboat approaching Oban's berth

The pagers first went off at 4.45pm on Friday 27 September 2019 when the UK Coastguard requested the launch of the all-weather lifeboat to attend to a diver who was suffering symptoms of decompression sickness (‘the bends’). The diver had come ashore from a dive boat in Tobermory Harbour and as the crew assembled and readied the Elizabeth Fairlie Ramsey for launch, a crew member attended to the casualty and began to administer casualty care in the Tobermory Harbour building.

After a dive specialist doctor had been consulted, it was decided to transport the casualty to Oban and the lifeboat proceeded to the pontoons to collect the casualty. En route to Oban, the volunteer continued to monitor the casualty and administer casualty care. After just over an hour, the lifeboat tied up alongside the Oban lifeboat at their berth with help of the Oban crew and the casualty was transferred into the care of the Scottish Ambulance Service for treatment at the hyperbaric chamber in Dunstaffnage.

Shortly before 1pm on Saturday, the volunteer crew’s pagers sounded for the second time during the weekend. The UK Coastguard requested the launch of the lifeboat to evacuate a person onboard a tall ship complaining of abdominal pain. The all-weather lifeboat met with the tall ship five miles north west of Tobermory where two crew members boarded the ship to assess the casualty and he was transferred onto the lifeboat on a stretcher. The crew continued to administer casualty care on the short journey back to Tobermory where the Tobermory Coastguard Rescue Team assisted in coming alongside to the pontoons and the casualty was transferred into the care of the Scottish Ambulance Service.

The RNLI’s casualty care training was developed to focus on effective hands on treatment, potentially in demanding and stressful environments. Crew periodically undertake an intensive classroom and scenario-based course over three days run by specialist trainers to provide them with the skills to confidently treat casualties at sea.

Coxswain David McHaffie said: ‘This week many of the crew had undertaken the RNLI casualty care course. Within 48 hours of passing the course, newest crew member Duncan was confidently putting into practice the skills he had covered earlier in the week. We wish both persons from this weekend’s shouts a speedy recovery.’

For further information, please contact

Leanne Blair, Tobermory RNLI Volunteer Deputy Lifeboat Press Officer on 07711549609 or

Martin Macnamara, Regional Media Officer (Scotland), 07920 365929 or

Gemma McDonald, Regional Media Manager (Scotland), 07826 900639 or

Elizabeth Fairlie Ramsey approaching Tobermory Harbour

RNLI/Leanne Blair

Elizabeth Fairlie Ramsey approaching Tobermory Harbour
Tobermory and Oban lifeboats

RNLI/David McHaffie

Tobermory and Oban lifeboats

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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 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and 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.

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