First shout for Mark at Largs RNLI

Lifeboats News Release

Largs RNLI volunteer Mark McDonald experienced his first callout on Largs lifeboat on Monday 21 August 2023.

Mark joined the volunteer lifeboat crew at Largs RNLI in May this year. A Paramedic for the Scottish Ambulance Service Air Ambulance he is based at Glasgow Airport. After moving to Largs a couple of years ago he developed an interest in the RNLI and the work of the lifeboat.

Mark explained; ‘Through my work at the Scottish Ambulance Service I have an interest in the other emergency services and the potential to develop better partnership working. I was chatting to one of the lifeboat crew about this and they offered to take me along to visit the lifeboat station. During this visit I was able to find out more about the lifeboat, and the crew, and the seed was sown for me to join.’

Training is essential for all RNLI crew and Mark has been learning the basics in both the shore crew and boat crew roles; ‘So far the training has been great! It has taken me through the basics regarding things like roles and responsibilities, launching and recovering the boat, and more recently starting my practical training on the lifeboat. I have also been learning about correct use of Personal Protective Equipment and the lifeboat layout. I have my ‘Crew Emergency Procedures’ course booked at the RNLI lifeboat college in Poole and I am really looking forward to it.’

Mark got the opportunity to put his training into practice during his first callout when he joined an experienced crew launching in response to reports of a kayaker in difficulties in the South of Largs.

Largs lifeboat launched and proceeded to the scene. While on route, the Coastguard on scene were able to provide further information, explaining that what had been originally described as an upturned kayak was a wing foil.

Due to the close proximity of the lifeboat, the decision was made to attend and check all was well, where it was clear this was a false alarm with good intent.

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

Talking about his first tasking Mark said; ‘My first callout as boat crew turned out to be fairly straightforward. We launched to reports of someone in the water with an upturned kayak, however it quickly became clear there were no ongoing problems.

‘We continued to the scene and made sure everyone was ok. I was glad to see they were all fine; they were in the water with their wing foil.’

‘It was good to be on the call with an experienced crew and it was nice to be able to start putting my training into action.

‘Largs lifeboat is an essential part of the local community. People should feel reassured there is an experienced group of people who are ready to respond if needed. I am sure the hope is to never need the RNLI but hopefully knowing they are on call and ready to respond if required gives some comfort.

‘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.’

Notes to editors

RNLI media contacts

Claire McRae, Lifeboat Press Officer, 07738681546, [email protected]

Brian Rankin, Lifeboat Press Officer, 07810862468, [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

Mark standing with Largs lifeboat

RNLI/Claire McRae

Mark McDonald

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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