First shout as helm for volunteer Orric at Largs RNLI

Lifeboats News Release

Senior Park Ranger and lifeboat volunteer Michael ‘Orric’ Holcombe took the helm of Largs lifeboat for the first time on Wednesday 19 July.

Michael 'Orric' Holcombe

RNLI/Nick Maler

Michael 'Orric' Holcombe

Just two weeks after passing out as helm, Orric took charge of Largs RNLI’s Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat in response to a tasking by HM Coastguard at 10am on Wednesday 19 July 2023 for a Man Overboard Signal.

The Coastguard had received the signal and were able to identify the vessel involved by using their MMSI number, a number which uniquely identifies the equipment, however they had tried unsuccessfully to make contact by radio.

The volunteer crew at Largs RNLI quickly arrived at the lifeboat station, where, as he was the first helm to respond, Orric knew he would be in charge for this callout.

Orric explained; ‘Once I started undertaking the tasks required for the shout my helm training kicked in. The training provided to the volunteer crew by the RNLI is very comprehensive and sets us up to feel confident when responding to incidents.

‘Right from the start of the shout I felt supported by the rest of the crew. With the other three volunteer crew on the lifeboat being long-serving crew members, I knew I had a very knowledgeable and experienced team onboard.

‘Knowing I had the support of a great team of volunteer crew, both onboard the lifeboat and as shore crew, helped alleviate any anxiety I had’.

The volunteer crew launched and under Orric’s lead made best speed to the location of the vessel.

Other vessels in the local area had been also been asked by the Coastguard to attend and locate the vessel. As the lifeboat was arriving on the scene, a yacht had located the vessel and the alarm was deactivated.

The lifeboat attended to check all was well and it was established the alarm had been set off by accident.

Largs lifeboat then returned to the lifeboat station where it was cleaned, refuelled and made ready for service.

Speaking about his first shout as helm, Orric said; ‘Although it was a false alarm it was amazing to see the equipment vessels can have on board to help themselves and raise the alarm.

‘Although I had known about this equipment it was great to see it in action. It really does work and can assist in our rescue efforts.

‘I would advise anyone taking to the water to make sure they are suitably equipped and give consideration to investing in devices to aid in their rescue should it be required.

‘If you get into difficulty at sea or along the coast, or spot someone else in trouble, always dial 999 and ask for the Coastguard.’

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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