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RNLI Chief Executive Commendation for Girvan Lifeboat Crew

Lifeboats News Release

Girvan volunteer crew honoured for rescue

Girvan crew being presented with commendations by Area Lifesaving Manager Robert McMaster

RNLI/Craig Sommerville

Some of Girvan Crew being presented with commendations

On Thursday 16th January 2023, lifeboat volunteers from Girvan RNLI lifeboat station were presented with a Chief Executives Commendation by Area Lifesaving Manager Robert McMaster following a rescue that took place on Monday 21st Feb 2022 in Girvan Harbour.

Those crew involved in the rescue were presented with a certificate signed by RNLI Chief Executive Mark Dowie, station Coxswain/Mechanic Callum Govus was also presented with a commendation for the rescue.

The rescue in question took place on the evening of Monday 21st Feb 2022 at just after 7pm, Girvan's volunteer crew were on station for regular training as is normal on a Monday evening.

The crew had went through the normal briefings and had got their Protective gear on and had just opened the external doors to exit the building when they heard cries for help.

The cries were coming from the area of the wooden jetty in front of the lifeboat station and our crew quickly ran towards the cries of distress, it was soon apparent a male was in the water, being in the water is dangerous at the best of times but the casualty had already been dragged a distance by a tremendous river flow on the back of storm Franklin that had put the river into spate, rising 2.5m in the last 24hrs and sending a raging torrent down river and through the harbour and he was hanging on by his fingertips to the wooden jetty.

The crew split up and some of the crew physically grabbed the male and held on for dear life against the current, while others flung life rings down so they could be put around the exhausted man, additional crew raced around the harbour and down onto the pontoons and around to where the man was and he was hauled from the water.

Girvan's crew who are casualty care trained provided first aid care and assessed the mans condition, he was then handed into the care of the Scottish Ambulance Service and transferred to hospital in Ayr. Also in attendance were Girvan Coastguard rescue team.

Girvan Lifeboat Coxswain/Mechanic Callum Govus said of the incident, the casualty was extremely lucky this evening in the fact we happened to be there at the time and were able to get to him so quickly, having been in the freezing water for a total of 15 minutes, the gentleman after falling between his large boat and the jetty into the water had been washed through under the jetty by the raging river and had managed to cling on by his fingertips at the other side of the jetty in the harbour in total darkness.
Potentially if we had been another few minutes heading out the door to training this man would have been swept away by the current out the pier end with the river in spate and no one would have known it had happened.
Lifeboat Operations Manager John Gourlay added "I commend the crew for their quick actions and their training that kicked in which resulted in a life saved that evening".

Pictured at the presentation are crew that were involved in the rescue (L to R) Nathan Tait(crew), Duncan Mackintosh(crew), James Hamilton(Navigator/crew), Callum Govus(coxswain/mechanic), Robert McMaster(Area Lifesaving Manager), Brian Gibson(crew), Fraser Stirling(crew), John Tait(Treasurer/Navigator) not pictured Sean Lowe(crew)

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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