Leverburgh RNLI station now operational

Lifeboats News Release

Leverburgh RNLI Lifeboat in the Isle of Harris is now on service after an almost three year hiatus.

Lifeboat on versadock with helm and 3 crew

RNLI/Catriona MacLennan

Leverburgh RNLI Lifeboat and crew

Following a year of intensive training, the volunteer crew at Leverburgh are now fully passed out and ready to commence active service. Crew training has covered many aspects and has included a trip to the RNLI’s state-of-the-art college in Poole, along with multiple familiarisation exercises in the station locality. The majority of the station’s crew are also now casualty care trained following an intensive three day course.

The Atlantic 85 Inshore lifeboat will be crewed by four helms. The helms are supported by a volunteer crew of seven from the local area, with recruitment ongoing. The crew bring with them a variety of skills and knowledge and consist of local fishermen, a telecoms engineer, a home care worker, to name but a few.

One of the station’s four helms, Eilidh MacMillan, a local telecoms engineer commented: It’s been a really hectic year with courses and training every week. There have been many long days and late nights, but we are now delighted to have reached this stage. Although we’ve been training for over a year, longer for some of us, the learning is only just beginning. When the pager goes off will be the real test. While we hope no one will have cause to need us, we’re happy to finally be in the position to answer that call.’

Integral to the running of the station and its ability to undertake taskings, will be the station’s five Deputy Launch Authorities, all of whom have undergone role specific training.

While the station is now ready to answer calls to save lives at sea, their work does not end there. Training continues, as a minimum on Monday nights, and often on multiple evenings through the week. The station will continue to be supported by the RNLI through this new and important era.

RNLI Area Lifesaving Manager, Bruce Rae, salutes the efforts of the Leverburgh team in their return to operational service. He said: ‘Thanks to the dedication of our volunteers in Leverburgh, we now have a lifeboat back on service, ready to save lives. I hope this is the first of many significant milestones for hugely enthusiastic team in Leverburgh as we embark on a two-year trial, and I would like to thank each and every one of the team for their hard work and achievements thus far.’

The station, which has previously been home to Mersey and Shannon class lifeboats sits in Sound of Harris and is perfectly located to provide cover both to the west side of Harris, Berneray and Uist, and will also serve the east coast and Minch area. The area is busy in terms of marine traffic, ranging from commercial to pleasure and is surrounded by a number of fishing ports too.

Catriona MacLennan, Lifeboat Operations Manager at Leverburgh said: I am immensely proud of all that everyone has achieved in the last year. It hasn’t been an easy journey. One of the things that’s facilitated our progress is the environment in which we have been working. We have a great compliment of people and their ability to gel and work together is what has got us to this stage. The station door is always open and the kettle is always on. And with that in mind, we would love to hear from anyone else who would like to join us, either in shore based or sea-going roles. Living in an area with a low working population is always going to present challenges, but we sincerely hope to build on what we have created here, to ensure the service is as sustainable as possible going forward. We look forward to serving our coastal communities for the duration of our trial period and thank the public for their support while we have been re-building a life-saving presence for the area.’

Now that the station is operational, a two year trial period, measuring the life-saving effectiveness of the station will commence.

If you are interested in joining the station, whether that be ashore or at sea, contact [email protected] or speak to any of the local volunteers.

ENDS

Attachments

Leverburgh_live_1: Leverburgh Lifeboat and crew (L-R: Rachael Campbell, Helm; Eilidh MacMillan, Helm; Jethro Lomas, Crew; Kieran MacAulay, Helm). Credit: Catriona MacLennan

Leverburgh_live_2: Leverburgh Lifeboat on exercise at Northton, Isle of Harris. Credit: Callum Callder, RNLI

Leverburgh_live_3: Leverburgh Lifeboat Station with the Sound of Harris in the background. Credit: Iain Angus MacLeod (Helm, Leverburgh RNLI)


Notes to editors

· Leverburgh RNLI was first established in 2012 after a community campaign for a lifeboat in the area.

· Follow the station on Facebook: facebook.com/LeverburghRNLI

RNLI media contacts

Catriona MacLennan, Lifeboat Press Officer, Leverburgh RNLI

07827994354, [email protected]

Martin Macnamara, RNLI Regional Media Manager for Scotland, 07920 365929, [email protected]

Natasha Bennett, RNLI Regional Media Officer for Scotland, 07826 900639, [email protected]

RNLI online

For more information on the RNLI please visit rnli.org. News releases and other media resources, including RSS feeds, downloadable photos and video, are available at the RNLI News Centre rnli.org/news-and-media.


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 142,200 lives.

Atlantic 85 lifeboat at sea, close to rocky shore

RNLI/Callum Calder

Leverburgh Lifeboat on excercise at Northton
Aerial view of Lifeboat station and surrounding area

RNLI/Iain Angus MacLeod

Leverburgh RNLI station in the Sound of Harris

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.