Donate now

Tobermory RNLI urges recreational water users to stay at home to save lives

Lifeboats News Release

Together with the UK Coastguard and the Tobermory Harbour Authority, Tobermory RNLI is urging recreational water users to follow government advice during the Covid-19 emergency and to stay at home to save lives.


Stay at Home. Protect the NHS. Save Lives

Tobermory RNLI’s lifeboat remains on service and the volunteer crew are ready to respond to vessels and people who get into difficulty at sea. However, the station is urging people to consider very carefully whether heading out onto the water is an essential activity and to consider the impact which this might have on the emergency services.

Following a number of incidents at the weekend where RNLI lifeboats were tasked to incidents involving recreational craft and water users such as yachts and kayakers, the RNLI and the UK Coastguard have asked people to follow government advice and stay close to home to take their daily exercise.

Coxswain David McHaffie said: ‘Whilst we remain ready to respond to emergencies at sea 24/7 during the current crisis, every lifeboat launch increases the risk of spreading the virus. It may also impede our ability to respond to future incidents if the lifeboat has to be taken off service for a deep clean or if our crew have to self-isolate or become ill. We completely understand that people will want to take to the water, particularly as the weather improves, but we would ask people to consider the possible impact which this might have on the RNLI and other emergency services. By staying off the water, you can also be a lifesaver. Stay at home. Protect the NHS. Save lives’.

Having closed the harbour to visiting non-essential traffic, the Tobermory Harbour Authority has provided updated guidance to local water users.

Tobermory Harbour Manager and Tobermory RNLI Deputy Launching Authority, Rob MacDonald said: 'As the summer season approaches and the weather improves, we are asking our stakeholders and customers to be thoughtful, consider others and follow government advice. It is essential that we relieve the pressure on our emergency services and work together to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 Virus. Please do not take to the water unless it is absolutely necessary: people’s lives could depend on it. If you do have to, ensure you take all steps to remain safe and minimise risk'.

Whilst the Tobermory RNLI volunteer crew are ready to respond to their pagers to save lives at sea, one crew member has helped provide PPE to local NHS staff. In conjunction with the Mull and Iona Community Trust, crew member and architect Will Thorne has used his 3D printer to make protective visors which have been trialled successfully at the local hospital.

Notes to Editors

The latest UK Government advice on Covid-19 can be found at:

RNLI Media Contacts

For further information, please contact

Dr Sam Jones, Tobermory RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager and Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer on 07747601900 or [email protected]

Gemma McDonald, Regional Media Manager (Scotland), 07826 900639 or [email protected]

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 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.

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 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or by email.