A new coxswain for RNLI Longhope

Lifeboats News Release

Local man, Scott Johnston has been confirmed as the next coxswain of the Longhope lifeboat.

Scott Johnston shaking hands with Kevin Kirkpatrick onboard RNLB Helen Comrie (Longhope)

RNLI/Andy Fellows

Kevin Kirkpatrick congratulates Scott Johnston on becoming Coxswain at Longhope
The Johnstons have a strong, historic connection to the lifeboat and Scott didn’t hesitate to join the volunteer crew when he returned to the island of Hoy with his young family in 2020.

‘I’d been on the lifeboat as a teenager but, as a recently returning member of the crew, I worried that an application for the coxswain role might not be taken seriously.’ says Scott. 

However, his crew mentor and former full-time coxswain of 20 years at Longhope, Kevin Kirkpatrick, had a much more positive take and recognised Scott’s potential. 

‘Kevin encouraged me to follow my ambition and supported my application all the way.’ Scott confides.
Scott was interviewed in Kirkwall last week by the visiting RNLI team, additionally sitting a written test and leading an exercise as coxswain with the crew from Kirkwall RNLI on their Severn Class lifeboat, the Margaret Foster.

‘It was a very different experience from being a crew member on the Helen Comrie in Longhope. The Severn Class is a much larger boat with an unfamiliar layout.’ said Scott. ‘The crew were supportive, but the exercise was not without surprises and my ability to adapt and react to changing situations and work with different personalities was definitely tested!’ he continued.

Thankfully, everything went well for our candidate from Brims and, with the RNLI team suitably impressed, a job offer was made during the following days.

Scott said ‘I am honoured to accept the role of coxswain at RNLI Longhope and have committed to an 18 month program of training, during which I will be working with volunteer crews across Wales on Tamar Class lifeboats, gaining experience in a wide variety of conditions and situations.’

Former Longhope coxswain, Kevin Kirkpatrick, said ‘I was delighted when Scott told me he was considering applying for the coxswain’s role at Longhope. I wish him all the best with his training and for the future.’

Scott is joiner by trade and had worked on the Orkney Mainland for some years, but was very glad to return to the isles. He is currently building a new home for his family in Brims, but is looking forward with enthusiasm to a change of career, working at RNLI Longhope in the heart of the island community that he values so much.

‘I want to encourage and inspire new generations to become part of our volunteer crew at Longhope and continue the legacy of saving lives at sea.’ he concluded.

Scott will officially begin training in his role as the next coxswain of the Longhope lifeboat on 20 June 2022.

Former coxswain Kevin Kirkpatrick and new coxswain Scott Johnston onboard RNLB Helen Comrie at Longhope Pier

RNLI/Andy Fellows

Former coxswain Kevin Kirkpatrick and new coxswain Scott Johnston onboard the Helen Comrie at Longhope Pier

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.

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