Scotmid donation helps local RNLI lifesavers at Queensferry learn vital skills
Recently recruited RNLI volunteer crew members at 15 lifeboat stations across Scotland will have a full year of training funded by Scotmid.
Dedicated volunteers make up 95% of people in the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI), with nine out of ten RNLI crew members having no previous maritime experience. RNLI crew members rely on their training to be able to continue to save lives at sea and return home to their loved ones safe and sound after every rescue.
Training hones boat handling skills, encourages teamwork and enables lifeboat crews to make the right decisions at key moments in any rescue. Intensive initial and ongoing training takes place at our lifeboat stations throughout Scotland and is complemented by specialist courses delivered at the RNLI College in Poole, Dorset.
It costs an average £1,400 to fully train one crew member each year. This year, Scotmid, a co-operative society at the heart of Scotland, committed to supporting local communities through investment, has pledged to make a donation of £21,000 to the RNLI. This will fund a full year of training for one volunteer crew member at each of the 15 lifeboat stations in Scotland that are within five miles of a Scotmid and/or Semichem store.
The support will ensure that volunteer crew have the best possible chance of saving everyone, every time.
Paul McKeown, Fundraising Lead for RNLI in Scotland, says: ‘We rely on donations to power our lifesaving work and our volunteers are the lifeblood of the RNLI. It’s important to make sure they are equipped with the right skills and the training so we can continue to provide the service that we have done for nearly 200 years.
‘The support from Scotmid will see training happen for lifeboat crew members at 15 different lifeboat stations across Scotland. On behalf of the RNLI, I’d like to say a big thank you to all the members and customers of Scotmid for supporting the RNLI and helping us to continue to save lives at sea.’
One of Queensferry’s newest recruits, Chris, joined the crew in November 2021 after his work patterns changed as a direct result of the Covid-19 pandemic. He knows first hand how important training is as a volunteer crew member.
‘Working in financial services, I was required to be in an office 5 days a week before the Covid-19 pandemic. But Covid changed things and it meant I could work from home 2-3 days a week which allowed me to be more available for the lifeboats.
‘Living close to the lifeboat station in Queensferry means it’s easy to understand the influence of the sea upon the local community and the impact the local RNLI lifeboat station has. I decided that volunteering with the RNLI was a way of giving back to the community and playing my part to help save lives at sea.’
Chris completed training both at the station in Queensferry and at the RNLI College in Poole, Dorset. Although Chris hadn’t had much maritime experience before joining the crew, the training provided him with all the skills he needs as a volunteer crew member.
‘Training at the station varies between on the water and on the land. On the water (in the boat) training includes undertaking practice searches for missing people, towing a boat and boat handling skills. Whereas, in the station, we learn casualty care and local knowledge of the sea and coastal areas through chart reading and planning.
‘The training provided by the RNLI allows crew members to deal with difficult, real-life situations in a confident and timely manner. When on a shout, the training you’ve learnt kicks in and we know how to deal with a given set of circumstances.’
He continued by saying, ‘the shouts at Queensferry can be quite varied. I have undertaken several searches for missing people, both at night and during the day, involving the use of specific search patterns and equipment, such as thermal imaging cameras and night vision binoculars. The training we receive as crew members is imperative for us to do our role safely and successfully.
‘Knowing that your fellow crew members all have and benefit from the same training means that you have absolute confidence in them when it really matters.’
Without continuous crew training and assessment, the RNLI lifeboat crews across the country would not be able to respond as quickly and efficiently to emergencies out at sea.
Notes to editors
· Scotmid is providing funding to train 15 crew members at 15 RNLI lifeboat stations across Scotland, totalling £21,000. The 15 RNLI lifeboat stations are all within 5 miles of a Scotmid store and include: Aberdeen, Arbroath, Buckie, Fraserburgh, Helensburgh Kessock, Largs, Loch Ness, Macduff, Oban, Peterhead, Queensferry, Stranraer and Thurso.
RNLI media contacts
Natasha Bennett, RNLI Regional Media Officer for Scotland, 07826 900639, [email protected]
Martin Macnamara, RNLI Regional Media Manager for Scotland, 07920 365929, [email protected]
RNLI Press Office, 01202 336789
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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.
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.