Kessock Lifeboat volunteers launch again during lockdown

Lifeboats News Release

The charity lifeboat at RNLI Kessock launched this morning (Thursday 16 April) at 1.08am in response to a tasking from the UK Coastguard to assist an ongoing situation on the River Ness.

RNLI/Yvette Kershaw

Kessock lifeboat on night exercise

The volunteer crew responded to the pager and mustered at the station in accordance with new RNLI guidance in the midst of the Covid-19 climate. Once a fully qualified 4 person crew was in attendance, the remaining crew en route were instructed by message to return home to limit unnecessary interaction.

Upon confirmation from the UK Coastguard that the situation had been resolved, the lifeboat was stood down with no further assistance required. The Robert and Isobel Mowat returned to the Kessock Lifeboat Station at 3.01 am to be cleaned , refuelled and made ready for service.

Kenneth Foggo, Deputy Launch Authority, commented that, “Last night’s shout was another successful operation in light of the current Coronavirus and the updated RNLI hygiene and distancing protocols.”

The operation once again 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 charity lifeboat had also been called out to assist a week ago on Easter Saturday 11 April. The RNLI has issued comprehensive guidance on how to safely execute the lifesaving service and the Kessock crew have adapted to the challenge. Previously, when the pager sounded, every available crew member would attend the station as quickly as possible and an operational crew would be 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 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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