First call out for Largs RNLI probationary crew member James
On Sunday 5 June, the volunteer crew of Largs RNLI were paged just before 6pm to assist 3 paddleboarders getting blown offshore.
Sunday evening was no different to most, with the volunteer lifeboat crew having their dinners, when their pagers sounded to respond to someone in need of assistance.
James, along with his fellow crew members, made his way to the lifeboat station to respond to the call. On arrival, he was told by the Helm, David Linton, to get kitted up as he was needed on the crew.
The station had received a report of 3 paddleboarders who were being blown offshore in a strong easterly wind near Fairlie. With this information, the station’s Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat, R A Wilson, was launched and the crew sped off towards Fairlie.
Whilst on route, the crew were advised there was actually 5 people needing assistance.
On arrival, the crew found that 3 people had already been recovered by a passing yacht, with 1 person making it ashore, and the final being recovered by another yacht and transferred to shore by the yacht crew.
The two people who had made it ashore were assessed by members of Largs and Ardrossan Coastguard rescue teams, who confirmed that both were OK.
The lifeboat went alongside the yacht that had recovered the other three people and as James had recently passed his RNLI Casualty Care course, he was asked to board the yacht and carry out a primary assessment of the three boarders.
After an assessment of the group, a young boy was found to be suffering from the cold after being in the water for some time. With this information and as a precautionary measure, an ambulance was requested and all three were transferred to the lifeboat and taken ashore.
At this time, the UK Coastguard had received further 999 calls from a member of the public who was concerned of three more paddleboarders who were struggling to make it to shore.
As the lifeboat crew were transferring over the three people from the yacht into the care of the Coastguard rescue teams, they were requested to check on the three other paddleboarders. As the previous casualties were now safe ashore and being looked after, the lifeboat proceeded to the other three other paddleboarders.
Once alongside the individuals, it was found that although tired, the paddleboarders were managing to make it to shore and confirmed that they did not require any assistance. The crew remained on scene until all three had made it ashore, and after advising the UK Coastguard that all persons were safely ashore, the crew were released and returned to station.
Largs RNLI Helm, Dave Linton, commented on the callout to advise that although paddleboarding is safe and enjoyable, those taking part in it should always ensure that they wear appropriate clothing, understand their limitations and above all, check the wind and weather forecast before going out on the open water.
Once back at the boathouse and changed out of his Lifeboat kit we asked James how he felt after his first call out.
James said, ‘When my pager went, like most new crew, I was nervous but eager to get to the lifeboat station to see where I could help. Be it on the boat or as shore crew.
‘On arrival at the station and upon getting the shout information from the Helm, who confirmed it was an emergency and that I was required on the boat, my nerves kicked in even more. The other experienced crew onboard made sure I understood what was needed from me and ensured everything was done safely and as we train frequently it all clicked. As multiple people were involved, we needed to work as one team which was a great thing to be part of.
‘I am glad to have now had my first call out and can see why the crew at the station really enjoy helping people in trouble, it really does make you feel good afterwards’.
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
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