Kessock Lifeboat volunteers launch during lockdown
The charity lifeboat at RNLI Kessock launched this morning (Saturday 4 April) at 7.42 am in response to a tasking from the UK Coastguard to assist a search for a vessel.
The 4 person crew was briefed and directed by Helm Douglas Munro on his first operational service in this role. The RNLI Lifeboat crew were tasked to search for the vessel which had activated its Emergency Beacon and was showing to be in the Moray Firth. The search commenced from the Kessock Bridge towards Chanory Point and Invergordon RNLI were also present.
Upon confirmation from the UK Coastguard of communications with the owner of the vessel, which was located safely berthed in Inverness Marina, the lifeboat was stood down with no further assistance required. The Robert and Isobel Mowat returned to the Kessock Lifeboat Station at 8.45 am to be cleaned , refuelled and made ready for service.
Alan McDiarmid, Deputy Launch Authority, commented that, “Although today’s shout did not involve an actual emergency in the end, it was a very successful operation in light of the current Coronavirus and the new RNLI hygiene and distancing protocols. The crew response was good and a notable first shout in charge for Dougie.”
Today’s operation highlighted the impact of the Coronavirus on the crew’s procedures to perform their duties, which they are available for 24/7, 365 days a year. The RNLI has issued comprehensive guidance on how to safely execute the lifesaving service and the Kessock crew rose to the challenge. Previously, when the pager sounded, every available crew member would attend the station as quickly as possible and an operational crew selected. New rules to safely observe social distancing, and to best protect the crew and any casualty, dictate that as soon as the required number present at the station a message is relayed to the rest of the crew not to attend.
Stuart Gudgeon, Area Lifesaving Manager for the RNLI said, “The new protocols have changed the way the volunteer lifeboat crew respond to a call to service in many ways.. In addition to adhering as far as possible to social distancing measures, existing stringent hygiene controls have also been stepped up. This has a significant impact on the time required to perform the necessary cleaning methods on the boat and of all personal kit scrupulously.I am delighted with how the Kessock crew performed today – it’s a tremendous reflection of the dedication of the whole crew during these very difficult times for all.”
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.