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Busy week for Tobermory RNLI volunteer crew with three shouts in 48 hours

Lifeboats News Release

Tobermory RNLI’s volunteer crew have had a busy week with three shouts in 48 hours and an intensive training programme with five exercises.

On Wednesday 24 May 2023, Tobermory RNLI’s volunteer crew launched to an unwell crew member on a fishing vessel off Ardnamurchan lighthouse. The following day, the crew were tasked to assist a yacht with a fouled propellor with five persons on board off Ardnamurchan Point. The lifeboat crew managed to free the yacht from the obstacle, most likely a fleet of creels, and towed the yacht to the pontoons in Tobermory.

On Friday 26 May 2023 whilst on exercise, the lifeboat was tasked to a report of an engine room fire on board a small ferry at Lochaline. The crew were stood down on route to the scene.

The busy 48 hour period coincided with a week of intensive training. The exercises were planned to focus on trainee coxswains’ boat handling skills as well as familiarising them and other crew members with working with a wide range of vessels. Vessels included the 210 metre cruise ship MV Seabourn Ovation, PS Waverley, the last sea going paddle steamer in the world, Silurian, the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin’s research sailing vessel and Briggs Marine’s Forth Warrior, a 27 metre aquaculture vessel. The trainee coxswains also practised coming alongside the Caledonian MacBrayne ferry, MV Loch Tarbert, whilst she was on passage between Kilchoan and Tobermory to simulate the transfer of people and equipment between the two vessels.

During the week, the station also received a very brief visit from Helen Fox, Station Leader at Roch Massicotte Station of the Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue. Helen was presented with an RNLI flag which had previously been flown at the station to take back with her.

Tobermory RNLI Station Coxswain David McHaffie said of the week, ‘We would like to thank the masters, captains, skippers, crews and organisations whose vessels we have trained with this week: Seabourn Cruises, Briggs Marine, the Waverley Steam Navigation Co Limited , the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust and Caledonian MacBrayne. We would also like to thank the Tobermory Harbour Association for allowing us to practise close quarters manoeuvring at the pontoons. Finally thank you to the local community for putting up with lots of engine and bow thruster noise over the past week’.

Tobermory RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager, Dr Sam Jones added: ‘I managed to observe some of the exercises on the lifeboat and also from the Kichoan ferry. I was impressed with both the commitment and enthusiasm of all of our volunteers who also gave up a large amount of time this week to train’.

RNLI media contacts

Dr Sam Jones, Tobermory RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager and Lifeboat Press Officer, 07747601900, [email protected]

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

Tobermory RNLI exercising with Briggs Marine's Forth Warrior

RNLI/David McHaffie

Tobermory RNLI exercising with Briggs Marine's Forth Warrior
Tobermory RNLI exercising with the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust's research vessel Silurian

RNLI/Sam Jones

Tobermory RNLI exercising with the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust's research vessel Silurian
Tobermory RNLI lifeboat pacing with 210m cruise ship Seabourn Ovation

RNLI/Sam Jones

Tobermory RNLI lifeboat pacing with 210m cruise ship Seabourn Ovation


Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue Leader Helen Fox with Coxswain David McHaffie and Lifeboat Operations Manager Sam Jones

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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