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Scotmid donation helps local RNLI lifesavers at Oban learn vital skills

Lifeboats News Release

Recently recruited RNLI volunteer crew members at 15 lifeboat stations across Scotland will have a full year of training funded by Scotmid.

Oban RNLI/Stephen Lawson

Lawire McMillan has volunteered for the RNLI for the last 9.5 years.

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 sounds 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.’

Lawrie McMillan has volunteered for the RNLI for 9 ½ years, after joining the crew at Oban in 2019 before previously volunteering at Stranraer RNLI in 2013. She knows firsthand how vital training is for volunteer crewmembers.

She says: ‘Training is what gives the RNLI its reputation – it provides those with a maritime background and those without the same equal opportunities when getting onboard a lifeboat to help save lives at sea.

‘As an experienced volunteer crew member, I know first-hand the important role training has in the safety and wellbeing of our crew. I have completed my Casualty Care Training course; my crew training programme and I have almost finished my navigator training programme too.

‘As a crew member at Oban, I have used my casualty care training quite often, including one example on a shout where we arrived on a casualty vessel to a diver who had inverted and inhaled water, floating in and out of consciousness. My training alongside another crew member allowed the casualty to be quickly assessed and decide the best form of evacuation and treatment, leading very shortly after to a helicopter evacuation.

‘A helicopter evacuation requires concentration and communication between the crew, coxswain and the helicopter as it’s something that can go wrong if not executed properly. We quickly had the winchman down, a quick handover and the casualty was then airlifted off to hospital.

‘With new crew members joining us, this donation from Scotmid will help fund their training both here at the station and down in Poole at the RNLI College, and help us to continue to save lives at sea.’

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

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.