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Scotmid donation helps local RNLI lifesavers 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.

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 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. 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 members 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 Aberdeen’s youngest volunteer crew members, Arron, who will benefit from Scotmid’s donation, has had his sights set on going on a shout alongside his father, after joining the crew over a year ago. A painter and decorator by trade, the youngster grew up surrounded by the RNLI and began his crew training when he was 17 years old, knowing that he had been waiting for this opportunity since he was a child.

In a recent shout, Arron described how his training helped him to identify a red distress flare and consequently, allow the volunteer crew at Aberdeen RNLI to save two lives at sea:

‘We had a shout back in March to a vessel out at sea that was taking on water. We had been called initially to go out and escort it back to the harbour but as we were getting ready, we were told that it was sinking.

‘We got out into the bay, and we were looking for flares and life rafts. We kept on going out further and I spotted a flare in the distance so I told the Coxswain, and we went over to it as quickly as we could.

‘There are several different types of flares and it’s so important to be able to recognise each one, which is something that we learn through our training on site as well as at the RNLI College in Poole.

‘Unfortunately, the vessel went down but we all knew and had regularly practiced how to get casualties onboard the lifeboat and ensure that everyone is safe and accounted for.’

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, Montrose, 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


RNLI crew members, Davie Smart, Julie Dominquez and Don Quate, pictured with John Brodie and Harry Cairney from Scotmid at Queensferry RNLI.

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.